It is estimated that a £1bn investment in wind farm projects across Scotland, led by renewable energy developer Burcote Wind, could create almost 600 jobs and power over half a million homes.
The independent UK firm, which has its headquarters in Dunfermline, has plans to develop ten wind farms at locations across Scotland, from Aberdeenshire to Dumfries and Galloway, totalling nearly 800MW of installed electricity generating capacity.
If consented, the projects could produce an annual electricity output of around 2.6 million MWh, which would have the capacity to meet the energy needs of 554,000 homes and displacing over one million tonnes of carbon dioxide which would otherwise be produced by fossil fuel power plants.
The ten pipeline projects represent a total investment of around £1.08bn, including pre-planning costs, capital expenditure on turbines and grid connection upgrades, and ongoing operating costs.
As well as creating around 110 permanent jobs in engineering and maintenance around the wind farms, the schemes would also support approximately 475 construction jobs during their build phases – a total of 585.
Burcote Wind is currently consulting on proposals for four sites – Meikleton (Aberdeenshire), Creggan (Argyll and Bute), Sandy Knowe and Benshinnie (both Dumfries and Galloway), for which planning applications will be submitted over the coming 18 months. Six other sites are at early stages of environmental and technical appraisal and not yet in the public domain.
Burcote Wind will take each of its sites through the planning process to allow the wind farms to be built, shouldering all the risk. The firm would then seek partners to make the capital investment needed to procure, erect and connect the wind turbines.
At each site, Burcote Wind is proposing to establish community benefit funds which it hopes will create a long lasting legacy by funding education and training places at local colleges in engineering and other renewables related subjects, as well as supporting other local priorities. The total value of proposed community benefit funding across the ten sites totals £60m over the 25 year lifetimes of the wind farms.
Graham Brown (pictured), chairman of Burcote Wind, said, “Our pipeline of projects represents a major investment in Scotland’s renewables sector worth around £1bn, with the potential to create and support nearly 600 jobs.
“We’re adamant that we want our projects to contribute to Scotland’s ambitions to reinvigorate its industrial base. So as well as creating skilled jobs, we are exploring opportunities to use community benefit funding to create training opportunities for young people at local colleges and help equip our workforce with the skills needed for Scotland to take full advantage of the huge economic potential the renewables industry has to offer.
“By providing vital investment in skills, these projects can help Scotland become a world leader in renewables technology in the years to come.”