St Andrews University has confirmed it is considering creating a windfarm on land it owns near Boarhills.
The move – which could see 14 turbines sited on farmland at Upper Kenly, south east of St Andrews – is very much in the early stages, a university spokesman stressed this week, and is part of the historic institution’s determined bid to reduce its carbon footprint.
Other options tackled in a wide-ranging report on energy management at the university include the possible siting of two wind turbines on the North Haugh, and the cultivation of fuel crops there.
Media relations boss, Niall Scott, told the Citizen: “We are major consumers of energy and we have a public duty to reduce our carbon footprint wherever possible.
”We are looking at wind power as just one of a whole range of ways we can do that.
“Our utilities bills are increasing and it would be remiss of us not to look at wind power options and possibilities, where they exist.”
Mr Scott said the university was keen to hear people’s views.
“When these things go public, those with the loudest voices tend to get heard when, very often, there is a silent majority who don’t make their views known. We want to hear from everyone,” he said.
Two years ago, in a bid to become the UK’s first carbon neutral university, the university commissioned a report to look at options for sources of green energy and sustainability.
The resultant document, ‘Renewable Site Assessment, North Haugh Campus and Upper Kenly Farm,’ was published on the university’s website at www.st-andrews. ac.uk/environment.
It identified the land on a ridge at Upper Kenly which the university currently leases to a local farmer as “ideal” for wind power.
While the university owns a massive 881 acres there, the report recommends a medium to large-scale wind turbine installation of no more than 14 machines.
Mr Scott said the university has already approached the communities of Kingsbarns, Dunino and Boarhills for their views. To date, the university has turned down all approaches from developers and power companies until they have heard local feedback.
He added: “We own the land in question, but we regard it as an integral part of the environment and amenity of these communities.
”We’re keen to ensure that any development at Upper Kenly takes place in partnership with local communities and does not disadvantage the farmer to whom we currently lease the land.
“Feedback to date has been positive. It’s only once the views of local residents have been fully canvassed that we will make a decision about whether to develop firm proposals for a wind power resource at Upper Kenly.”
Following on from the success of a similar project in Fintry in Stirling, St Andrews University has also asked a group called ‘Frost Free’ to help them explain the proposals to locals.
Frost Free grew out of the experiences of Fintry Renewable Energy Enterprise (FREE). The group successfully negotiated with the developer of a local windfarm for an extra turbine to be added to the community.
That has now started to operate and, for the next 20 to 25 years, the village development trust’s website claims it will benefit from the sale of electricity from the extra turbine to the tune of £½ million a year.
For more information about Frost Free go to www.frost-free.co.uk/about.shtml
20 March 2008
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