A major windfarm could be built on one of the north-east’s best-known landmarks.
Turriff-based Muirden Energy has unveiled plans to instal 12 huge turbines on the slopes of Mormond Hill, near Strichen.
The 330ft masts are earmarked for the western side of the landmark hill, which lies between Fraserburgh and Strichen.
Developers say the project, which will generate enough electricity to power tens of thousands of homes, could pump as much as £50,000 into local community projects. Muirden Energy, which is run by Grampian Country Food Group founder Fred Duncan, will be launching a public consultation drive in the coming weeks. Feedback from residents will then be used to draw up an application for planning consent, which is due to be tabled later this year.
The group said plans were at an early stage and the total cost of the scheme has yet to be finalised.
The 2.3MW masts would be installed 760 yards from the nearest home and 550 yards from Mormond Hill’s famous white horse.
Energy4All, a not-for-profit company set up to spearhead community-owned clean energy schemes, is working with Muirden to look at ways of introducing a public share offer which will allow people to invest in the project and therefore benefit directly. The group is using a similar scheme – at a windfarm at Boyndie near Banff – as a template.
As part of the offer, those living nearby would be able to invest for a guaranteed minimum return of 10%.
Muirden chiefs say more than £50,000 could go into a local community benefit fund each year. Company director Dave Green said last night: “The site represents a fantastic opportunity and potentially there could be many winners.
“Firstly, it helps the government meet its ambitious renewable energy targets.
“Secondly, it provides a clean, non-polluting power source, and thirdly, the community will benefit through the sizeable community benefit fund. Locals who invest in the project benefit with the returns on offer. And we hope to get a good return on our significant investment.”
A two-turbine development was created to the north of Mormond Hill in 2008. The summit of the 750ft hill was once home to a Nato radar station during the Cold War and is festooned with commercial telecommunications equipment.
Its slopes are dotted with farms and settlements. A huge stag figure is carved on one side of the hill – which is visible from the A952 Mintlaw to Fraserburgh road – while a large white horse can be seen from the Strichen side.
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