Following last week’s report from a Scottish university that wind farms could lead to the loss of thousands of tourism jobs, Wind Energy (North Rhins) Ltd, have said otherwise.
The company was granted permission to build an 11-turbine farm at Portpatrick last week.
Managing director Mike Davis said that extensive work had gone into designing the farm to reduce its visual impact on the landscape.
He added: “We narrowed down over 90 sites across Scotland and settled on Portpatrick as it is the most adequate in terms of wind performance and rural setting, meaning we can place the turbines in such a way that will make them difficult to see from many locations.”
Research carried out by Glasgow Caldeonian University revealed a potential for a £4.1 million loss to the economy of Galloway and a loss of 277 jobs.
Dumfries and Galloway was one of four areas in Scotland studied – chosen for their ideal nature to house turbines – and the researchers claim the findings would mean by 2015 there would be some £4.7 million less in the Scottish economy.
But the researchers say any tourists put off visiting an area with many wind farms were likely to head somewhere else in Scotland, therefore re-adjusting tourism spending for the country.
The report states: “Overall, the finding of the research is that if the tourism and renewable industries work together to ensure that suitably sized wind farms are sensitively sited, whilst at the same time affording parts of Scotland protection from development, then the impacts on anticipated growth paths are expected to be so small that there is no reason to believe that Scottish Government targets for both sectors are incompatible.”
A spokesman for Wind Energy (North Rhins ltd) also told the Gazette: “North Rhins Wind Farm will contribute to the local economy and help Scotland meet its renewable energy targets. The site has consistent winds blowing in from across the Irish Sea. Our plans have been heavily influenced by environmental and technical factors, landscape design, ecological studies, as well as consultations with stakeholders and feedback from our public exhibitions and website.
“We have been pleased by the support within the community, and we look forward to our continuing involvement at a local level during construction and the operational life of the wind farm.”
This application involves the construction of 11 turbines and associated infrastructure, including access tracks and underground cabling. The turbines will have a maximum height of 100m and an installed capacity of 22MW.
The site is located on farmland between Stranraer and Portpatrick. The wind farm will meet the annual electricity needs of around 15,000 homes, representing over a fifth of the households in Dumfries & Galloway. The electricity from this project will go into the local distribution network in the Rhins of Galloway.”
18 March 2008
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