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Flurry of wind turbine plans  

Credit:  By Craig Smith, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 6 October 2011 ~~

A flurry of wind turbine applications have been submitted to Fife Council for sites across the region in the last few days.

Three turbines earmarked for a farm near Auchtertool head the list of proposals, while single turbines have also been suggested for Thornton, Anstruther and Newport-onTay.

Renewable Energy Ventures Ltd wants to develop the three 99.5m turbines at Clentrie Farm after farmer Tom Mitchell identified them as a way of offsetting energy costs from his livestock farming.

They would each generate 2.3MW of electricity and those behind the project hope it will find favour with councillors as it is smaller than turbines previously consented at Little Raith (126m), North West Saline Windfarm (120m) and Westfield (110m).

A Renewable Energy Ventures spokesperson said the proposal would cost between £1.8m and £2.2m, suggesting that more than 50% of that will be spent locally through contracts placed with electrical and civil engineering companies to fencers and hoteliers.

The firm said: “An extensive programme of environmental assessment has been carried out in relation to this proposed wind cluster project.

“No unacceptably adverse effects have been predicted and therefore, based on the information available to date, it is concluded that the project could be successfully accommodated into the local area.”

If approved, the turbines would be landed at Methil Docks and transported to the site.

The application is just one of five turbine-related consents being sought in the last seven days, with all likely to need councillors’ approval if locals express enough objections.

The largest of those has been targeted at Skeddoway Farm, just off Strathore Road in Thornton, where Wind Direct want to put up one 110m wind turbine.

According to developers, it would result in construction contracts worth an estimated £300,000 placed with local companies and would help to sustain the long-term viability of the farm itself.

A Wind Direct spokesperson said: “The importance of diversification within the farm economy is widely recognised, with alternative and additional enterprises making a valuable contribution to both total farm business incomes and more broadly to the rural economy.

“At Skeddoway Farm, the turbine would co-exist with current agricultural practices and land use, contributing to the longterm security and viability of the farm.”

Elsewhere, near Anstruther, applications for a 47m wind turbine at Knightsward Farm and a 17.75m wind turbine at Lochton Farm have both been lodged with the council.

A 74m single wind turbine has also been envisaged for Cruivie Farm near Newport-on-Tay.

Lomond Energy, an independent renewable energy development company based in West Dunbartonshire, is behind the Cruivie proposal and says the site was chosen, among other reasons, because there were no international or national landscape or nature conservation designations within the site boundary and because it is an exposed location with good wind speeds close to the grid.

With so many turbine applications coming forward, councillors are coming underincreasing pressure to give more weight to the cumulative impact of such devices on the landscape.

However a 136-page appraisal from Lomond Energy about the Cruivie Farm project suggests the landscape could accommodate the turbine, with only a “low effect” on the surrounding landscape and visual amenity.

It also points out similar turbines that have been installed or approved within 20km of the sites.

Source:  By Craig Smith, The Courier, www.thecourier.co.uk 6 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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