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Loch Tay windfarm plans delayed  

Credit:  By Mark Mackay, 6 April 2013 | www.thecourier.co.uk ~~

The green energy developers behind plans for a further giant windfarm in Highland Perthshire have gone back to the drawing board.

West Coast Energy has been preparing an application for up to 40 turbines on a site just a few miles from Loch Tay.The Crossburns Windfarm, on the Urlar Estate, would be the third in a few square miles of Strathbraan countryside.

It would sit adjacent to the 14-turbine Calliacher cluster and very close to the sprawling Griffin development.

Detailed proposals were to have been taken to residents in a series of spring public exhibitions, but the developers have now delayed these while they gather more technical information.

The scheme remains at its earliest stage and locals say they are awaiting further details, but there has already been disquiet about the continuing pursuit of large-scale renewables projects in the area.

Residents have previously complained that they feel powerless against big business and “under siege” from the plethora of planning applications submitted.

Matthew Hayes, project manager for West Coast Energy, said every effort would be made to keep residents informed.

“When we initially unveiled the Crossburns project a couple of months ago we explained that we were at the very early stages of the process,” he told The Courier.

“There are many technical and environmental aspects that have to be assessed and considered over a period of time in the design of a windfarm project.

“One critical part of the work that has to be carried out is to monitor wind patterns, as this helps us decide on a provisional design for the windfarm.

“We don’t feel we have sufficient information at the moment to fully inform our site design and therefore wish to erect an anemometer (met) mast in order to gather more substantial information than has been possible to date.

“Planning applications for two met masts have, therefore, recently been submitted and we hope to have at least one of these installed on-site this coming summer.”

Mr Hayes said that in the circumstances WCE felt it “sensible” to postpone public consultation exhibitions until more detailed wind information had been collected from the met mast over a period of time.

He added: “This will allow us to have a more realistic potential design to show to members of the public.

“We will, of course, let the public know when we decide to go ahead with these exhibitions, but it is likely to be towards the end of the year, at the earliest, possibly into 2014.”

West Coast Energy, which is based in north Wales, held briefing sessions in Aberfeldy earlier this year to unveil its draft plans. The substantial windfarm is expected to generate enough clean electricity to power more than 54,000 homes and the developer believes that the community will benefit significantly from the generation of renewable energy produced on their doorsteps.

The Crossburns Wind Farm will incorporate a substantial community benefit package, whereby a portion of the revenue will be used for local and regional community initiatives and projects.

Such schemes have already seen the Griffin and Calliacher windfarms distribute thousands of pounds to groups and causes.

The exact height and location of the turbines has yet to be decided, however, and significant questions about their visual impact remain to be answered.

Source:  By Mark Mackay, 6 April 2013 | www.thecourier.co.uk

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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