Wind Farm Plans Power Ahead as Grid Connection is Approved

A proposed wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway has been assured a connection to the local grid network in 2016, delighting renewable energy specialists.

Banks Renewables has lodged a planning application to create the seven turbine Knockendurrick Wind Farm, east of Gatehouse of Fleet.

Now the Hamilton-based company has been advised that if the scheme is approved it could be connected to the electricity grid almost immediately.

Dan Thomas, grid manager at Banks Renewables, said: “This is tremendous news, not least because it means Knockendurrick Wind Farm could start delivering significant benefits to the local community straight away if it is given planning permission.

“Electrical grid connections are one of the major stumbling blocks for wind farm developments in this part of the world, because there can be major delays in getting the necessary infrastructure in place so this will definitely help to progress the site quicker should it be approved.”

Colin Anderson, director of Banks Renewables, said: “It would not be unusual for a site such as ours to be told that no grid connection is possible until some point between 2018 and 2020.

“However, with this promise of a 2016 connection, we now only need planning approval from Dumfries and Galloway Council and we could begin work on the site very quickly, with all the local benefits that would bring.”

It is estimated that construction work on the site would inject at least £5 million into the local economy, because Banks Renewables has committed to using local firms wherever possible as part of the project, creating meaningful job opportunities in the area.

Contracts would be required for construction and maintenance, ground works, quarry and building products, plant hire and haulage, waste solutions, fencing, fabrication, accommodation, aggregates, utilities, professional services, hospitality and many more services.

On top of that, the Community Partnership approach to the scheme would see local people share 3% of the site’s gross revenue, which could be worth £6.5 million over the 25 years of the development.

That money would be directed into projects identified and backed by local people, including job and training creation schemes. Banks Renewables is in discussions with Dumfries & Galloway Council and with local colleges and businesses to agree how best to deliver a targeted employment and training initiative.

Elsewhere the local community’s share of wind farm revenues could also be invested into providing vital community infrastructure, delivery of major environmental projects and direct funding into community groups.

Colin Anderson added: “The council has to decide on whether to approve our wind farm. So it is exciting to know that if it is approved, Knockendurrick could be live within two years and delivering real benefits to the local community.

“We are grateful for the feedback and support we have had from local people and businesses, who acknowledge the many, long-term benefits it will bring to the area at a time when council and government cuts are biting deep.

“We hope all of those who support the wind farm proposals will express that support to their local councillors to help them make the best decision for the area.”

Full details about the Knockendurrick Wind Farm can be found at the dedicated website, http://www.banksgroup.co.uk/knockendurrick/.

Banks Renewables is part of the Banks Group (www.banksgroup.co.uk), a family firm founded in 1976, which now employs more than 420 people in the renewable energy, property and mining sectors.

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