A cross party group of local MSPs recently wrote to the Scottish Government to make the case for land at the former nuclear site becoming the site of a planned specialist blade facility for the decommissioning, and recycling, of old wind turbine blades.
Colin Smyth, Oliver Mundell, Emma Harper and Finlay Carson all signed the letter which was sent to Cabinet Secretary Neil Gray MSP.
And Mr Smyth also raised the issue in a Scottish Parliament debate last week on the green economy, when he criticised the fact that although Dumfries and Galloway had more windfarms per head of population than anywhere else in Scotland, few of the jobs from the renewable industry were based in the region.
In September, Scotland’s wind energy industry signed the Onshore Wind Sector Agreement with the Scottish Government. It commits the industry, the Scottish Government and its agencies to delivering a recycling hub in Scotland to support supply chains to reuse and refurbish parts from windfarms.
Speaking in the debating chamber, Mr Smyth said: “Using the former nuclear power station would be a visible example of a just transition in action, and it would fit in with the Government’s commitment to the Borderlands inclusive growth deal, with its pledge to make Chapelcross a focal point for clean energy.
“The site is at the geographical centre of the on-and-offshore decommissioning pipeline, with major windfarms not only across South Scotland but in north Wales and Northern Ireland.
“As I have highlighted, there is an opportunity to do so by locating Scotland’s blade hub at Chapelcross.
“It already has service land available via South of Scotland Enterprise and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority”.
The local MSP highlighted the work of the company ReBlade Ltd, the UK’s only specialist turbine decommissioning provider, founded by wind energy experts Stephen and Fiona
Lindsay and currently operationally based in Cargenbridge.
Mr Smyth added: “The region is the operational base of ReBlade, which is the UK’s first blade-decommissioning company.
“That high-growth Scottish start-up would be an obvious anchor enterprise to lead Scotland’s new blade hub.
“The company already has existing specialist supply chains located in Dumfries and Galloway, which will be required to grow, and it forecasts that there will be 80 full-time jobs situated in Chapelcross by 2030 if we grab the opportunity.
“I hope that, at the very least, the cabinet secretary will respond positively to the request in our letter to meet me and the cross-party MSPs.”