Annandale and Eskdale is seeing the winds of change on its landscape.
In a multi-million pound investment the area now has 20 wind turbines fully operational and generating electricity.
And, in coming years, that figure could rise to 372 across the district.
Airtricity Development Scotland has announced its 16-turbine windfarm at Risp Hill on Minsca Farm between Waterbeck and Lockerbie is now fully operational after its commissioning phase and testing period.
They join four turbines already working in a separate venture at Carlesgill, East of Langholm.
The £40million Minsca windfarm, whose Siemens-supplied turbines are 120 metres high, has a total capacity of 36.8MW, which can generate enough electricity to supply 26,000 homes.
Simon Heyes, the company’s general manager for Great Britain, said they were delighted to finally begin producing “green electricity” at the site.
He added: “Airtricity has been working with the local community and Dumfries and Galloway Council throughout the construction process and will continue to do so now that the windfarm is operational.”
Airtricity has committed an annual fund of £73,600 to 25 community groups operating near the windfarm and the first year’s funding is due to be awarded via Solway Heritage by the end of the week.
Those closest – Middlebie and Waterbeck community councils, Corrie Parish Hall Committee and Tundergarth Parish Hall Committee – are to share in £36,800 for community projects, based on £1,000 per MW installed.
And the remaining £36,800 will be carved up between 21 community groups covering an area from Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk Community Council to Templand.
Other than Minsca and Carlsgill, a 71-turbine windfarm at Harestanes, Ae Forest, near Moffat, has been approved by Scottish ministers but work is yet to start.
Although 15 turbines at Minnygap near the Ae Forest were refused by the council in September, the decision could be appealed.
Scottish ministers are still to determine CRE Energy’s for 22 wind turbines, which will stand 111.5 metres tall at Ewe Hill near Waterbeck, despite plans being approved by councillors in 2004.
And also for the proposed 161 turbine Clyde windfarm North East of Moffat in South Lanarkshire which will have a cumulative effect on Upper Annandale with Harestanes.
Plans for a 21 turbine Solwaybank windfarm north of Gretna are in the early stages as is a proposed 26-turbine windfarm at Newfield near Sibbaldbie.
The Newfield venture will be determined by Scottish ministers and not the council.
This is the same for the proposed Earlshaugh scheme which would see 36 turbines at the Devil’s Beef Tub near Moffat.
It is causing concern among Moffat residents who have already formed an action committee to fight controversial plans from ScottishPower for a massive electrical substation and overhead cables in the town, with a link to both the Harestanes and Earlshaugh schemes.
Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell recently met with Mike Davies and Adrian French of Edinburgh planning company Terence O’Rouke to discuss the scheme and raise community concerns over the proposed Earlshaugh windfarm.
The MP said: “We had a detailed discussion about the windfarm proposals which they are pressing ahead with. They have given an agreement to attend a meeting with Scottish Power, myself and Moffat Golf Club to discuss the distribution route.
“I have said there must be dialogue with relevant people in Moffat about the whole development and, if given the go-ahead, its impact during construction and once it’s built. We had a full and frank discussion and I didn’t hide my continuing objection to the project.”
9 May 2008
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