Boost to UK onshore wind sector as developer confirms construction of South Kyle Wind Farm to start once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted
Construction of a major new onshore wind farm capable of powering 170,000 homes is set to get underway as soon as Covid-19 lockdown restructions are eased, developer Vattenfall announced today.
The company confirmed it has reached an agreement with investment firm Greencoat UK Wind, allowing it to green light plans for the South Kyle Wind Farm located between East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.
The deal means Greencoat UK Wind will acquire the 240MW, 50 turbine wind farm following its completion. Vattenfall will then manage the asset on behalf of Greencoat for a minimum of 10 years, while also committing to purchase the power from the site for a period of 15 years.
Commercial operation of the wind farm is now slated to start in the first quarter of 2023 with the project set to save around 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
The project will also enable the delivery of £38m of community benefit investment over the lifetime of the wind farm, with the funding set to be shaped by the needs of the communities of Dalmellington, Patna, New Cumnock and Carsphairn.
"We are delighted that our agreement with Greencoat UK Wind means we can fulfil our commitments to the local community and contribute to major investment in the area," said Frank Elsworth, head of market development for UK onshore at Vattenfall. "Onshore wind in Scotland has the potential to make a significant contribution to reaching net zero and is the cheapest form of renewable energy generation that brings us closer to that goal."
A precise timeline for construction work on the project is yet to be confirmed, but Vattenfall said it was continuously monitoring precautions concerning COVID-19 and was committed to starting work once restrictions are eased.
The news represents the latest in a series of boosts to the UK, and in particular the Scottish, onshore wind industry.
Earlier this year the government announced onshore wind and solar farms would be allowed to compete at the next round of clean energy contract auctions, paving the way for a host of new and highly cost competitive projects to come online.
Meanwhile, just last week Ofgem gave preliminary approval to plans for a subsea link between Shetland and the Scottish mainland that would enable the development of a major new onshore wind farm on the archipelago.
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