Jan 21, 2011

West Dunbartonshire Wind Farm Plans Finalised

Following over two years of environmental studies and 15 public consultation events, plans for Lomond Energy's Merkins Wind Farm near Bonhill have now been finalised.  Local communities could benefit from owning one of the turbines to bring much needed income to fund local projects as public spending cuts start to bite.

The design of what could be West Dunbartonshire’s first major green energy project features 10 modern wind turbines on Auchenreoch Muir, with main access to be taken via the Auchencarroch landfill site.  If built, the turbines will produce enough green electricity to supply a third of all the homes in West Dunbartonshire.

Lomond Energy Director, Steve Macken said, “It’s been a long road to get to this stage where the project looks right, avoids sensitive features on the site, and above all takes account of views expressed by local residents.  To achieve these aims we have reduced the original size of the wind farm from 15 to 10 turbines and moved the project a little further south and west of where we originally planned.  The result is a compact layout which avoids dominating the landscape from distant views and is well away from local homes, which at their closest are more than 2km (1.3 miles) distant.” 

The design and siting of the wind farm not only takes into account a wide range of planning, economic and technical issues, but also local knowledge which plays an important part in developing a project to be acceptable to local communities.

“Whilst it is essential that we use experienced professional consultants to inform us about  the ecology, ornithology and history of the site, we have also taken account of the many constructive comments which were made when we exhibited the plans last September in Balloch and Gartocharn” Mr Macken said.   These in particular resulted in the wind turbines being moved away from a historical drover’s route which runs across the moorland, and being more tightly grouped to improve the way the wind farm fits into the local landscape”.

A detailed planning application is now being completed and will be lodged with West Dunbartonshire Council within the next few months.

In the meantime local communities have been invited to participate in owning a share of the wind farm if it is successful, the income from which will directly benefit local projects such as those identified in the Kilmaronock and Balloch Community Action Plans.

“Lomond Energy is passionate about renewable energy and the true benefits that it can bring not only in tackling climate change and increasing our energy independence, but also to communities in the form of sustainable economic development and local job creation.  As the project is being developed using local resources and with local communities owning a share, we can ensure that a significant portion of the revenue will be retained within West Dunbartonshire”, said Mr Macken. 

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