A Danish energy firm is having another go at building a windfarm in the Solway.
DONG Energy failed in its efforts to build 90 turbines in Wigtown Bay after their plans were seriously criticised by locals.
But they have now been given the thumbs up by the Crown Estate to look into developing a scheme south of Luce Bay.
A spokesman said: “DONG Energy has been awarded an exclusivity agreement by The Crown Estate to undertake a feasibility study in the Outer Solway Firth for a potential offshore windfarm site.
“We are at a very early stage in this potential project with no actual site yet identified. We will be engaging with stakeholders at the beginning of the new year to gather responses on local concerns and issues which will be taken into account at this early stage of the planning of the potential project.”
DONG Energy is looking to create a windfarm that would generate 300 megawatts – enough to power up to 230,000 homes.
E.ON’s Robin Rigg development in the Solway features 60 turbines, generating up to 180 megawatts.
The site has been identified as suitable for a windfarm by a Marine Scotland report.
A search area of more than 500 square kilometres has been established, with DONG Energy looking to develop 60 sq kms of that.
They have promised that any turbines will be at least eight kilometres from the shore. Their previous plans would have seen some turbines as near as four miles. Despite the changes, their new scheme is already drawing criticism.
Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson said: “This announcement marks the start of what will be a long campaign by those who, like me, oppose the very idea of a large windfarm in the so-called outer Solway between Luce Bay and the Isle of Man.
“The Crown Estate is in exactly the same position as any farmer approached by a windfarm developer or householder seeking to install solar panels on their roof – they are permitting a company to explore the possibility of development.
“However, this particular development will, if it is ever put in place, result in possibly hundreds of turbines in the Solway.
“It is not long since a campaign of public opposition resulted in the withdrawal of plans to install a windfarm in Wigtown Bay and another next to Robin Rigg. It was a very hard fought campaign.
“This new step towards another, much larger, proposal will require an even greater effort if it is to be rejected. That effort starts now.”
Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown added: “Local people will be thinking ‘here we go again’ as the prospect of yet more turbines off our coast rears its ugly head.
“While this agreement is just to look at the possibility of a development, there is the potential here for a massive windfarm in the Outer Solway. I am deeply concerned that this will scar an area of stunning natural beauty.”
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