Energy firm tests the water over wind farm proposals

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PLANS have been unveiled for a huge 12-turbine wind farm which, it is claimed, could produce enough energy to power 40 per cent of the homes in Midlothian.

The renewable energy developer Wind Prospect aims to build the wind farm at Mount Lothian on the Penicuik Estate.

The site is said to have a high average wind speed of 7.5 metres per second and would generate up to 58,000 megawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power 14,000 homes.

Although planning papers will not be submitted to the local authority for another year, and the development is expected to be several years off, Wind Prospect said it hoped local residents would be interested in the scheme.

The firm intends to give £48,000 per year to support community initiatives, the equivalent of £1.2 million over the project’s lifetime.

Colin Williams, senior development manager at Wind Prospect, said: “Our proposals for Mount Lothian are still at a very early stage of development and we will not be submitting a planning application for at least another year.

“However, we are keen to engage with the local community at this early stage of the process so they have a real opportunity to provide input and to help shape our plans for the site.”

Mr Williams said the the project would bring considerable investment to the local community as well as providing clean energy to a significant area of Midlothian.

He added: “A wind farm at Mount Lothian could make a significant contribution towards cutting carbon dioxide emissions and would generate enough clean, green energy to power 40 per cent of all of the homes in Midlothian.

“Our proposals also incorporate a substantial community benefit package worth up to £1.2m over the wind farm’s lifetime. As part of the community engagement process, we will be seeking input from the local community on the types of projects and initiatives they would like to see this funding used to support.”

The turbines that the firm plans to use at Mount Lothian would have a hub height of 65 metres, with the height of the blades stretching to 105 metres.

Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for the Lothians region welcomed the proposals.

She said: “Greens want to see every community benefiting from Scotland’s great renewable resources and for us this means greater levels of community ownership and control over local projects and the income they can generate.

“Greens want to see the right projects in the right places and I hope that Midlothian residents will have every chance to engage with this latest application.”

rory.reynolds@edinburghnews.com