A THIRD windfarm in the South Ayrshire area is entering the planning stage after an application to site a test mast on a site near Lendalfoot.
Ecotricity, which describes itself as a “social enterprise” plans to erect up to 16 wind turbines at Straid Farm near Lendalfoot.
The company say that initial studies show the site at Straid Farm, east of the A77 and around 1km north-east of Lendalfoot, is a good one. Ecotricity is evaluating the potential for up to 16 turbines at the site, which would together generate over 89 million units of electricity a year.
Ecotricity is also pledging to create a community benefits fund of £36,000 per annum should the project get the go-ahead, equivalent to £900,000 over its 25-year lifetime. Local people would administer the fund and decide how best the money should be spent.
Ecotricity has been carrying out a range of detailed environmental studies for the past two years to evaluate the site’s potential. It has devised a draft site layout that takes a wide range of factors into account, including the adjacent landfill site, on-site ecology and ornithology, radar, site access and the local grid connection, together with any potential impact on the wider landscape.
Ecotricity is writing to 250 local households, and is also holding two open days to discuss its proposals to date with local people and answer any queries.
These will take place at Lendalfoot Community Hall, on 30 August, 4pm to 8pm and Colmonell Community Centre, 37 Main Street, 31 August, 4pm to 8pm.
Mike Cheshire, spokesman for Ecotricity, said: “As an independent British company with no shareholders to answer to or profit targets to hit, we’re very different from any other developer. For 15 years, our one mission has been to change the way energy is made in Britain, and bring about the maximum environmental benefit with the minimum environmental impact. We all have to decide where our energy comes from for future generations, and a wind farm here could be a local, clean energy source that will never ever run out.”
“There’s a long list of criteria that any potential site has to meet on paper before we can even consider it further, and so far this site meets all of those. That’s why we’re choosing to meet with local people at this early stage to explain where we are so far, and what happens from here.”
Ecotricity has applied for permission to put up a temporary wind mast, which records the wind speed and direction at height over the exact site. Once all the data from this has been analysed, it will be able to confirm if the location is a good one for producing wind energy.
Ecotricity has created a dedicated webpage for the site, including information and a blog that will be regularly updated at www.ecotricity/straid-farm People who are unable to attend the meetings can also email firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
Britain’s leading green energy company, Ecotricity was founded 15 years’ ago when, in 1996, it founded the UK’s green electricity market and movement. A ‘not for dividend’ company with no shareholders to answer to, it now powers 50,000 homes and businesses in the UK from its 52 windmills.
Other planned windfarm developments in South Ayrshire include a nine-turbine development at Tralorg and a 17-turbine development at Assel valley.
n See our coverage of the Communities Against Turbines Scotland public meeting in Ballantrae last week on page 16.