Local communities to benefit from FCS windfarm schemeFebruary 25th, 2011 by Simon Haddock
2011 has been declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations. The aim is to raise public awareness of the role that forests can play in securing a greener, more sustainable future.
It therefore seems appropriate that the Forestry Commission Scotland has agreed to work in partnership with Scottish developers to investigate the possibility of generating up to 500 megawatts of wind power on its estate.
The Forestry Commission owns 10% of Scotland’s land and this new scheme could see the construction of up to 200 wind turbines and benefit local communities to the tune of £2.5 million.
Communities are being offered a financial incentive of £5,000 per year, for each megawatt of power generated, to host the turbines. That’s twice the national average payment. Communities will then have the option to reinvest the money into the scheme to get a larger stake of the project.
The FCS has selected different partners to work on developing the schemes. Scottish Power Renewables has been chosen as the development partner for the Dumfries and Galloway and Arran region whilst PNE Wind UK is the partner of choice in Cowal, Stirlingshire, Tayside and the Trossachs. Fred Olsen Renewables will be developing schemes in the Grampian area and e.ONClimate and Renewables UK Developments Ltd will be responsible for Inverness-shire, Lochaber, the Northern Highlands and West Argyll.
The developers now have eight months to produce a list of suitable wind sites in their regions. The Forestry Commission will need to approve the sites but providing it does, hundreds of new jobs could be created during the construction of the wind farms. The Commission is also committed to replanting any trees that are felled during windfarm developments.
The FCS seems to be fully embracing renewable energy projects. It is also looking into the development of small-scale hydro schemes in conjunction with small Scottish company Green Highland Renewables and a consortium of Gordon Gilkes and Co and Broadland Estates.
Will we now see the English and Welsh Forestry Commissions following suit?
Tags: forestry commission, forestry commission scotland, Green projects, hydro power, hydro power projects, Renewable Energy, renewable energy projects, renewables UK, scottish power renewables, united nations, Wind Energy, wind power, wind projects scotland, windfarm, windfarm development