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Company scales down reservoir wind farm plans

Renewable energy company Eneco UK (Eneco) has submitted a section 36 planning application to the Scottish Government for the 18-turbine Macritch Hill Wind Farm development at the Backwater Reservoir in Glen Isla.

If agreed, it will help to reduce Scottish Water’s electricity bill as it has the capacity to potentially generate 138GWh of electricity annually.

Since Eneco was awarded the rights to explore the wind farm development in 2012, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and technical surveys to determine the scale and design of the proposed wind farm have been carried out.

Extensive public consultations, including three rounds of public exhibitions in the area, have also been held to help understand the community’s wider needs and concerns.

The final design incorporates changes made as a result of feedback from the community, and results from the EIA and technical surveys.

These include reducing the number of turbines from 33 to 18, and dropping the blade tip heights to reduce visual and landscape impacts.

Should the development be approved, Eneco has confirmed a community benefit package of £5,000 per MW per year during the project’s lifetime.

Following consultation, the plans also take into consideration management and enhancement of the local area.

Daniel Badcock, Eneco development manager, said: “From the outset it has been our aim to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the local community and stakeholders.

“Results from the Environmental Impact Assessments and technical surveys, and feedback received during the consultation process, have allowed us to shape the overall design of the Macritch Hill Wind Farm.

“We hope that as many residents and members of the public as possible register their views about the Macritch Hill Wind Farm once the consultation phase begins.”

Chris Toop, Scottish Water’s General Manager for Energy said: “In providing essential services to our customers, Scottish Water requires a significant amount of energy. Increasing the amount of renewable energy generated on suitable sites or land can help us reduce our electricity bill for the benefit of our customers.

“In the last two years, Eneco has led an extensive stakeholder and community engagement exercise into the potential of this project.

“All factors have been taken into consideration and helped inform development of the planning application which has now been submitted.”

The application, plans and the Environmental Statement are available to view at Kirriemuir ACCESS and Community Police Office and at Kirriemuir, Forfar, Alyth and Blairgowrie libraries.