Wind of Change: wind farm planned near Banchory

By Andrew Reid

A PUBLIC exhibition is to be held in Banchory next week to allow locals to find out more about plans to build a wind farm at a site on Deeside.

Assessments are currently being completed by the Natural Power Consultants Ltd. for a 25 turbine wind farm located on a mixture of open moorland and forestry at Mid Hill, around 10km south of Banchory and 16km west of Stonehaven.

A full environmental assessment for the proposed wind farm is currently being undertaken. When completed, it will form part of a planning application to be submitted to Aberdeenshire Council next year.

Natural Power has consulted with all the relevant parties including the Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and the RSPB during the site design process.

They claim that once operational, the wind farm would deliver important environmental benefits to the area.

Over the operating lifetime of the project (20-25 years), between 1.5 and 2.9 million tones of carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced from conventional coal fired power stations, as well as reductions of harmful nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide.

By generating some 128 million (kwhr) units of green electricity each year, the wind farm at Mid Hill would contribute over 5% of the new renewable supply obligation in Scotland by 2010.

As well as providing substantial environmental benefits, the wind farm could provide up to 50 jobs during the 7 to 12 months construction period. During construction, civil engineering and infrastructure works would be available for tender by local contractors.

The proposed wind farm has a generation capacity of around 50 megawatts, equivalent to the demands of almost 30,000 households or, almost one third of Aberdeenshire’s domestic electricity demand.

Giles Dearden, project manager of Natural Power said: “The wind farm has been carefully designed over the last 12 months against both technical and environmental criteria.

“Turbines have been located away from Kerloch to the north and the hill edge most prominent to the Mearns in the south, on to less visually prominent areas. Where views can be obtained, the layout has been carefully designed to give a balanced appearance that, in our view, sits comfortably within the landscape.

“I would encourage the public to visit our exhibitions to find out more and to give members of the team their views on our proposals.”

The public exhibitions will take place on Monday, December 2, from 1.30pm to 8.30pm at Drumlithie Village Hall, and on Tuesday, December 3 from 11.30am to 8.30pm at the Douglas Arms Hotel, High Street, Banchory.