Second five-turbine wind farm plan revealed

An impression of how the turbines would appear from Helensburgh pier
An impression of how the turbines would appear from Helensburgh pier

Plans for a second community-led windfarm in the Helensburgh area were revealed this week.

Helensburgh Renewables, a community-owned trading company set up originally with the backing of the town’s community council but now independent of it, has outlined plans for a community wind farm which would  generate long-term funding for local projects and initiatives.

Like the Cove Community Wind Farm, it would have five turbines, in this case aiming for a potential windfall totalling more than £5m over 20 years

The  turbines would be sited above Helensburgh reservoirs, outwith Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.

The team behind the project say the area has moderately high wind speeds and is near  to both a main road and an electricity substation, with no special designations.

A statement released today said it was ‘relatively remote from all but a very few dwellings and, with much of Helensburgh facing seaward, presents no significant visual impact for most of the town’s residents’.

The wind farm would be managed and operated for the benefit of the community, and a partnership with wind farm specialists Green Cat Renewables Ltd and landowners Luss Estates Company would mean there is no financial outlay by the community.

Helensburgh Renewables are preparing a public consultation to take place later this year, with the wind farm potentially going live in 2015 subject to planning permission.

Ian Fraser, managing director of Helensburgh Renewables, said: “Helensburgh Community Wind Farm has been inspired by similar community projects on the Isle of Gigha, at Fintry and, more recently, in Neilston, all of which have secured a growing income stream for their local communities for the next 20 to 25 years, whilst reducing carbon footprints.

“This is a once in a generation opportunity to generate much needed funds for vital local services and initiatives throughout our town and community.

“Unlike commercial wind farms, Helensburgh Community Wind Farm will be for and by the community, and I would urge anyone who is interested in the future of Helensburgh as a community to engage with us when we undertake our full public consultation this year.”

Gavin Catto, director of Green Cat Renewables Ltd, commented: “This is an exciting new model for community involvement in renewable energy projects, with the community being a full partner alongside the landowner and an experienced wind energy company.

“This partnership model means that the community will gain far more financially than in a normal commercial development, but the project will still benefit from the experience and commercial drive of an experienced developer.”

The financial projections are based on average wind speeds, anticipated wholesale electricity prices and the returns of similarly sized projects.

Simon Miller, chief executive of Luss Estates Company, added: “Given the tough economic climate, this model is an excellent way to fund many invaluable projects in Helensburgh, and having been approached by the community Luss Estates is delighted to facilitate and support this innovative solution by partnering Helensburgh Renewables and Green Cat Renewables.

“We look forward to working closely with the community as the project progresses.”

The Helensburgh Advertiser this week reports that the turbines would be visible from as far away as Dunoon and Rothesay.

4 Comments

  1. Having remained neutral on the Cove plans, there was always the nagging thought about what would be next. These things in large numbers are a blight on the landscape and now we will have even more right on somde of the most beautiful panoramas in Central Scotland. I’m deeply cynical of the Helensburgh plans with the commercial interest. You’ve got to wonder – why invest so much for such meagre returns? Unless more are to follow sharing the overheads…

  2. Jamie – this is the whole problem. I am in favour of renewables, but the right type in the right place.
    The great worry is that the Clyde Estuary and its environs seem to be a new target – the Cumulative effect of wind farm developments in an area needs to be given greater credence.
    Both this and Cove are bordering, and will be visible from the National Park – an internationally acclaimed area, also encompassing the varied flora and fauna specific to, and in some cases, only found within this area. If we are to be narrow minded and only look at each development on its own, and not look at the whole – (bearing in mind that previous applicants could return under the ‘community’ guise) we could find the whole area flooded with these industrial units, destroying the beauty and tranquillity we have been gifted with.
    This gift is not ours to destroy – we are, as has been said before, only the caretakers in our own time.

  3. “Both this and Cove are bordering, and will be visible from the National Park – an internationally acclaimed area, also encompassing the varied flora and fauna specific to, and in some cases, only found within this area.

    … we could find the whole area flooded with these industrial units, destroying the beauty and tranquillity we have been gifted with”

    Reading comments like the above, I can’t help wondering whether we live in the same area!
    Have you ever noticed the two massive naval bases in the area with their ugly industrial sprawl and visual and other intrusions? Have you ever driven past the miles of razor wire-topped fences, or witnessed the daily traffic jams on the A814 at shift changes? It’s like the elephant in the room.

    The area is hardly untouched, even the upland areas on which the wind farm is proposed to be sited, and the views and environment certainly aren’t pristine! And this is without mentioning the fact that the Clyde is a working port area with all the infrastructure that entails, and hosts two nuclear power stations, the developments at Inverkip etc. and massive housing developments.

    Even with all this, there’s still beauty and tranquility to be found if you go looking for it. A proposed wind farm development is the least of the intrusions.

  4. I see you still repeat what people have already stated and answer in riddles. I notice no comments on the NP outcome and to think of it SNH comments either from you.
    You obviously do not venture further than your front door in Rosneath then. If you did then you would know that there is great beauty in the surrounding areas both to the North and the West.
    When you state the area is hardly untouched, making reference to the WF location. What is exactly there at the moment? Not a lot I don’t think. You always seem to have an answer, I suggest you get out and about and actually visit some of the NP areas and you will soon see that the answer you have given is so incorrect.

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Deadline extended for wind farm comments | The Lochside Press
  2. Wind turbines ‘too big’ for location, say planners | The Lochside Press
  3. Plans for £7.5m Helensburgh community wind farm submitted « The Lochside Press

Leave a Reply