Community Windpower wants to put 75 mega turbines on Scoop Hill near Wamphray, pictured, and has offered £20 million in community benefits to the local area over the next 40 years.
The structures would range from 180m to 250m in height, exceeding the current tallest turbines to have been granted permission by 30m, which are in Ayrshire.
Unveiling their plans, a spokesman for Community Windpower said that the development will see £1.8 billion of economic investment, and provide significant support to Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway’s Climate Emergency Declarations.
This is the third Community Windpower renewable energy project in southern Scotland, bringing their total local investment to £4.05 billion and enough green energy to power 1.25 million homes.
The company’s community liaison officer, Stuart Walker, said: “Scoop Hill Community Wind Farm will provide huge economic and social benefits to Dumfries and Galloway, both during construction and the 40-year operational lifetime.
“However, the benefits of this project are not just limited to directly supporting jobs during the post-Covid green recovery, it will also stimulate wider economic growth across the region and deliver 40 years of inward investment.
“Scoop Hill Community Wind Farm will contribute a total of £262.4m in business rates to Dumfries and Galloway Council.
“This money can support the provision of vital local services and facilities, in turn helping to improve education, employment and socio economics for the local authority area.
“It also provides an opportunity for the region to become a global leader in green energy projects, which will help kick-start the economy and fuel clean growth.”
Energy storage facilities will be built within the windfarm, ensuring energy is stored away during low demand.
The project would also allow for the development of a visitor centre, under separate planning permission and with wider consultation, and multi-use windfarm walk, allowing people the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and gain knowledge about the windfarm.
And discussing the option of a visitor centre, Mr Walker said it would “further provide significant long-term benefits, including jobs, education facilities, tourism and space to support people’s health and mental wellbeing.”
He added: “We will be reaching out to the community and look forward to
working with them, which is a fantastic opportunity for local people to utilise the windfarm’s community benefits to make their own aspirations a reality.
“The visitor centre will be run as a not-for-profit venture, with any income directed back to running costs and supporting the local community.”
The project has drawn support from a range of businesses locally, including Grange Quarry and Concrete, AMD Contract Services Ltd and RJ McLeod, who directly employ hundreds of people to work on the construction phase of onshore windfarms and many more indirectly in the supply chain.
Operations director at Grange Quarry and Concrete Robbie Dodd said the Lockerbie-based firm has previously worked with Community Windpower.
He said: “Projects such as this will inevitably help retain and create valuable and skilled jobs in the local area.”
And director at AMD Contract Services Ltd Fraser Dykes said: “Community Windpower’s contracts has previously given AMD Contract Services Ltd the opportunity to give security for local people’s jobs, have a company policy of employing three apprentices every year and employ people who previously worked in opencast mining in the area.
“I know from previous experience Scoop Hill Community Wind Farm will provide a significant boost to the local economy.”
However, the proposal has not received backing from everyone.
Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell has come out to strongly oppose the Scoop Hill development.
He said: “The size and scale of the project is completely out of character with the local landscape and I have received a number of representations from deeply concerned constituents.
“I would strongly encourage anyone who feels likewise to write to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit or submit views online through their website.
“The lack of opportunity for meaningful public engagement due to Covid-19 makes sending in representations even more important.”
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