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Clarification on statements made regarding the proposed Sanquhar II Community Wind Farm

In March, Community Windpower Ltd (CWL) submitted an application for a wind farm situated on the border of Dumfries and Galloway and East Ayrshire, approximately 6.5 kilometres (km) west of Sanquhar, 4km south of Kelloholm and 14 km northwest of Thornhill.

The proposal is for 50 wind turbines which will having a generating capacity of between 250 to 350MW of clean, green renewable energy. This wind farm will form an extension to our already operational Sanquhar Community Wind Farm.

At this stage of the planning application process, we wanted to provide the local host communities with an update on the progression of the application, and to clear up some misleading and factually incorrect information which is currently being circulated.  

We at CWL pride ourselves on honest, open and transparent consultation therefore, this article has been set out in a clear way to avoid any misunderstanding.

The heights of the turbines

There are two different heights of turbines proposed.

48 of the turbines are 125m from the base (ground level) to the hub, and with a 75m blade attached, provides a tip height of 200m.

Two of the turbines are shorter and have a base to hub height of 93m and they have a blade length of 56m, providing a tip height of 149m.

It has been stated these are the tallest onshore wind turbines in the UK. This is not the case. While the proposal is larger than operational turbines in the area there are several other applications, both in Upper Nithsdale and East Ayrshire which are proposed at tip heights of 200m or higher. There are several schemes in close proximity to Sanquhar II which are proposed at turbine heights of 200m, with some schemes up to 250m to tip.

In terms of the number of turbines in the proposal, there are several wind farms in the UK which have greater than 50 wind turbines such as  Harestanes Wind Farm in Dumfries and Galloway (68 turbines) , Whitelee Wind Farm (215 turbines) and Clyde Wind Farm (206 turbines).

Why the taller turbines?

Historically, wind farms were supported with Renewable Energy Certificates, which is now not the case. We, and other wind farm developers, believe that to make a wind farm viable in the current economic environment, a similar model as used on the continent would need to be replicated within the UK. This includes the use of larger, more powerful turbines with single wind farm schemes being able to generate over 200 MW. This allows for economies of scale to be utilised, thus offsetting wind farm support payments and make the scheme commercially viable. Larger and taller turbines will allow for more of the wind to be captured and generate electricity for more of the time.

Additionally, with the use of taller turbines, the wind farm becomes more efficient with the installation of less turbines but can generate more clean, green renewable energy for Scotland and the rest of the UK. We believe the landscape at Sanquhar II can accommodate these taller and more efficient turbines, more so than a larger number of smaller, less efficient turbines.

Community benefits

The Scottish Government recently released its updated guidance on Community Benefits. It highlights that Community Benefits are a voluntary donation however continues to promote the equivalent of £5,000/MW of installed capacity to local communities. It goes on to state “We recognise that some renewable energy businesses will seek to offer communities a more flexible package of benefits, and that package might not necessarily be based on our recommended national rate of £5,000 per installed MW per year.” This means that there is no minimum level of community benefits to be given to local communities.

It is worth noting that CWL will be providing a community benefit for the Sanquhar II scheme on top of the existing £150,000 per year to the Upper Nithsdale Community Trust (shared between the communities of Sanquhar and Kirkconnel and Kelloholm) through the operational Sanquhar Community Wind Farm. This Community Benefit which will go to local communities will be greater than the current community benefit of £150,000 per annum. In addition to this, there will still be local spend, continued work with schools and colleges, use of local businesses and creation of local jobs through the wind farm.

CWL is disappointed that currently, objections have been raised by Community Councils in the area, specifically in relation to the perceived lack of funding from the wind farm development. While we have not yet stated a value for the community benefits, we are committed to providing a level of funding for the wind farm development, in addition to the existing works as stated above. As seen through the UNCT, this can provide valuable funding to local assets, local groups and local people.

Dumfries and Galloway Climate Emergency

As highlighted in an earlier issue of the Nithsdale Times, Dumfries and Galloway Council have announced a climate emergency and subsequently have developed a 14-point action plan. One of the points is it become net-zero by 2025, a challenging feat however it is possible and even more so if Sanquhar II Community Wind Farm was approved and built. Sanquhar II Wind Farm would displace over 634,500 tonnes of carbon each year – a massive contribution towards becoming net-zero carbon by 2025.

If you support Sanquhar II and the renewable energy it will generate along with the substantial carbon displacement – please visit www.sanquhar2windfarm.co.uk/support

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