This week Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing approved a 22-turbine wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway. The Ewe Hill Project, near Lockerbie, for Scottish Power Renewables has been given the go ahead after making its way through the full planning process.
Mr. Ewing commented that the development would create a significant number of jobs and when operational will be able to generate power for up to 24,000 homes. Also he stated that the scheme could deliver the equivalent of 80 short-term construction jobs.
“It’s encouraging to see that a solution has been found to deal with the aviation radar issues which have held the proposal up,” he said.
“Projects like this provide considerable benefits to the local community, and play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of 100% of electricity demand generated from renewables.”
This new development will give a boost to the Scottish Government’s pledge to have 50% of the country’s electricity produced from renewable sources by 2015. This target is in addition to the overall one of having 100% of electricity produced from renewable sources by 2020.
Scotland is officially the windiest country in Europe with up to 20% of Europe’s wind energy flowing through our land. Also, as shown above, we have a government committed to ambitious targets for energy from renewable sources.
So taking that into account all applications for renewable energy developments in Scotland must sail through planning with a positive outcome for all, right? The detractors would certainly have us believe so.
At the same announcement as Ewe Hill, Fergus Ewing was not so positive about another prospective development, this time in the Borders near Rowantree, stating that it could not proceed.
“The Scottish government wants to see the right developments in the right places, and Scottish planning policy is clear that the design and location of renewables projects should reflect the scale and character of the landscape, as well as being considered environmentally acceptable,” he said.
“That is why I have refused permission for the proposed wind farm at Rowantree, which would have brought unacceptable environmental impacts to people living in the area.”
There are guidelines set and all planning applications must meet them all in order to progress to a positive outcome. At ILI (Renewable Energy) we started off with over 600 sites and put them through a rigorous screening process taking into account the potential impacts a turbine would have on the immediate area.
From this we took just over 250 and prepared and submitted planning applications for medium wind renewable energy projects. To date we have had 72 successful applications, more than any other organisation in Scotland for this size of development.
At ILI (Renewable Energy) we know that all sites are taken on their merits and will only succeed in planning if they meet the right criteria and does not have an overly negative effect on its surrounding environment.
This includes the visual impact the turbine development will have on the surrounding area, the environmental impact it may have on wildlife including local animal and plant populations, and the amount of noise it will produce and who it will affect.
We want to see Scotland achieve its target of producing 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and are happy to be involved in it however we understand each successful planning application is an accomplishment, not a certainty. We are good at what we do and also proud to be part of a country which values renewable energy and harnesses its resources however not to the detriment of its environment.