The developer behind controversial plans to place up to 20 wind turbines on the hills above Dunoon’s west bay at Bachan Burn has been sold to a Canadian company.
Brookfields Renewables is reported by industry press to have bought Edinburgh-based PNE Wind UK from it’s German parents for a sum in excess of £100million.
A spokesperson for Brookfield Renewables told the Standard: “The PNE Wind UK acquisition fits well with Brookfield Renewable’s strategy of building a European renewable platform, and complements our existing operations in Ireland and Portugal.”
The spokesperson continued: “We are working alongside the team in Edinburgh to progress the development pipeline, and we look forward to continued engagement with project stakeholders.”
The sale comes shortly after the UK Government announced the early ending of subsidies for on-shore wind farm developments, which will now be April 1 next year. It had been due to end in 2017.
MSP Mike Russell, who has previously written to both PNE and Forestry Commission Scotland asking them to withdraw plans for the largely unwelcome wind farm, told the Standard: “I will make sure that the new owners understand the strong feelings locally about Bachan Burn and I hope they are more responsive than PNE has been to date.
“I will also press for a response from the Forestry Commission who could use this change of ownership as a means of pulling the plug on the development.”
PNE has been seen as uncommunicative with the people of Dunoon: a meeting with PA23 BID representatives was postponed just days after the company also refused to attend a public meeting organised by Dunoon Community Council. After a random telephone survey carried out on behalf of the company in May Willie Lynch, Secretary of Dunoon Community Council said: “They [PNE] have never met the residents in public despite being asked three times. They have met small select groups with PNE managing the meeting and agenda.”
Further public exhibitions to show the company’s plans for the site have been promised – but the timescale has moved from, initially, late 2014, to January 2015, to late spring and still have not materialised. The only visual interpretation of what the site could look like with the giant turbines on it has come from the Save Cowal’s Hills campaign group.
It is understood that Brookfield Renewables will pay an initial £40m, and the rest will be transferred on a ‘milestone’ basis through to 2020.
PNE has made investments, to date, of some £27m, mostly in Scotland.
PNE Wind UK’s former German parents also hit the headlines recently when police were called to its AGM.
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