Wales and Scotland rush through onshore wind farm approvals

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 13 Jul 2015 11:03
Onshore wind projects look to beat deadline on subsidy grace period
Onshore wind projects look to beat deadline on subsidy grace period

The Scottish Government has delivered planning consent for a wind farm in Kennoxhead, South Lanarkshire, as Whitehall withdraws subsidy support for the onshore wind sector.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced his decision as he confirmed permission for the Limekiln Wind Farm, in Caithness, has been refused.

PNE WIND UK Limited has now been given the go-ahead to construct 19 turbines with an installed capacity of 64.6 megawatts (MW), on land south of Glespin in South Lanarkshire. Under the company’s community energy commitment this is likely to benefit the local community by £8 million over the 25 year operating period.

The money will be split between the South Lanarkshire Council Renewable Energy Fund and a dedicated local fund who will use the money in consultation with community groups.

Mr Ewing agreed with the outcome of the Public Local Inquiry (PLI) on Limekiln Wind Farm which said consent should be refused.

Announcing his decisions Mr Ewing said: “The wind farm in Kennoxhead will bring considerable benefits to the local community as well as having the capacity to power an estimated 30,208 homes. I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy, which will help to reduce climate emissions.

“We have been clear that wind farms can only be built in the right places, and that proposed developments are subject to strict planning laws. Our policy strikes a careful balance between utilising Scotland's significant renewable energy resources whilst protecting our finest scenic landscapes and natural heritage.

“Each application is considered on its merits which is why I have refused permission for the proposed wind farm at Limekiln in line with the Reporter’s recommendation.”

In Wales, AIM-listed Renewable Energy Generation Limited has been granted planning permission for the 9MW Abergorki Wind Farm in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

Abergorki brings REG's tally of consented wind farms to eight, totalling around 60MW. As previously announced 38MW are due to be delivered over the coming 18 months, with this project and the previously announced Mynydd Brombil (8MW) now also moving into procurement.

REG's strategy is to increase its existing 111MW of operational UK renewable energy projects across wind, bio-power and solar to 300MW within three years.

The latest project comprises three wind turbines with tip-heights up to 146.5 metres and an expected aggregate installed capacity of up to 9MW.

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council's decision, in line with the planning officer's recommendation to approve the application, is subject to the expiry of the usual six week legal challenge period. The Company is currently in discussions with the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the Project's eligibility for the proposed, revised grace periods under the Renewable Obligation regime.

Andrew Whalley, REG Chief Executive Officer, said: "Abergorki will be a significant addition to our portfolio as it is extremely well placed to harness the excellent wind resource in this part of South Wales. It is also gratifying to achieve a resolution to grant consent at local authority level, demonstrating that well-sited wind farms can offer benefits to local communities and attract strong local support.

"Our pipeline of consented renewable energy projects at various stages of procurement and construction now stands at 150MW. Once commissioned, these projects will increase REG's total generating capacity to over 250MW.

“We are therefore on track to hit our target to increase our existing 111MW of operational UK renewable energy projects across wind, bio-power and solar to 300MW within three years. We are building a leading independent renewable energy provider in the UK and I look forward to providing further updates on our progress."




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