Cowal wind farm plans revealed

The turbines would be sited above the Firth of Clyde
The turbines would be sited above the Firth of Clyde

Plans for a 50-megawatt wind farm near Dunoon could be submitted next year, developers have announced.

The number and size of the turbines has not been revealed – but the project would generate more than four times the amount of power aimed for by the abortive Cove Community Wind Farm.

A feasibility study for the Bachan Burn site to the south west of Dunoon on the Cowal Peninsula has already been completed.

Developers PNE Wind UK have been granted exclusive rights by the Forestry Commission Scotland and are currently working on an environmental impact assessment for the project, aiming to submit a planning application in December 2014.

Local residents are being offered community benefit worth £5,000 per megawatt, either paid as cash or converted into equity ownership of the wind farm, while a community liaison group would also be formed.

The site is to the north and east of a previous application for Coralach Hill one that was refused, but Energy Minister Fergus Ewing is enthusiastic about the potential at this stage:  “I welcome this partnership between Forestry Commission (Scotland) and PNE Wind UK, which could – subject to planning permission for any projects in question – create significant opportunities for the surrounding communities,” he said.

“The Scottish Government places great importance in the ability of communities to invest in and benefit from the development of Scotland’s enormous renewable energy potential.”

A Forestry Commission Scotland spokesman added: “Developments on the national forest estate will always be carried out in a manner sensitive to the environment and all projects will go through the full planning process.

“There is plenty of potential to develop wind energy projects on the national forest estate and a key aim is to ensure that communities across Scotland benefit too.

“Communities will always be consulted and those in the vicinity of the schemes will be eligible for leading edge annual payments of community benefit, as well as the opportunity to invest should they wish to do so.”

In July this year plans were received for the Inverclyde Wind Farm, which would have ten 110-metre turbines and a maximum generating capacity of 30 megawatts at Corlic Hill near Greenock.

More information on the Cowal project is available here.