Planning consent has been granted for a wind farm which will bring £30 million in to the Highland economy and generate £500,000 a year for local communities, including scholarships to send local young people into further education.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has approved the Beinneun wind farm, near Invergarry, Highlands. The 85 megawatt wind farm will have 25 turbines and generate up to the equivalent of the energy needs of 40,000 homes.
The wind farm will bring 90 jobs to the area during the two years of construction and employ three people directly and three indirectly.
During the construction period, the wind farm will bring £30 million to the Highland economy, and it is estimated it will bring £3 million a year to the local economy once it is operational, including half a million pounds a year paid to the local communities. The developer will provide five £1000 scholarships for local young people going on into university or technical college. Students from the community council areas which will host the wind farm (Fort Augustus & Glenmoriston and Glengarry) would have priority.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“The construction of the Beinnuin wind farm will provide a valuable boost to the local economy, injecting £30 million and creating 90 jobs during construction, as well as an estimated £3 million a year after that.
“Once it is up and running it will save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year, and it is expected that the savings made will ‘pay off’ the carbon footprint of constructing the site in less than two years.
“The wind farm will also produce enough electricity to power the equivalent of 40,000 homes.
“In consenting this application I have put in place a series of conditions to protect natural habitats, local communities and local wildlife. This includes a research programme into common scoter breeding ecology which was suggested by the RSPB and will include scoter and mammal surveys, fish studies, and investigation of the loch profile”
Developers RidgeWind Ltd applied to the Scottish Government to operate a 25 turbine 85MW wind farm in November 2011. The development received one representation in support and no objections from members of the public, and an objection from one non statutory consultee, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.
The Scottish Government has determined 76 energy applications since May 2007. Of these, 54 have been consents for renewable developments: 30 onshore wind, 1 offshore wind, 19 hydro, 4 wave and tidal and 16 non-renewable projects since May 2007 The Scottish Government has rejected 6 energy applications since May 2007, all of which were onshore wind farms.
The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently considering another 45 applications of >50MW capacity generating stations, including 43 renewables: 2 Hydro, 4 Biomass, 37 Onshore wind, plus 2 non-renewable Hydro. In addition to this there are 11 active applications for overhead lines, and 1 pipeline application.
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