Communities closer to benefitting from windfarm windfall

Scottish communities are a step closer to being able to invest in onshore wind developments as Edinburgh based energy company, PNE WIND UK (PNE) progresses with plans to deliver renewable energy from wind farm
projects on National Forest Estate.

Having been awarded exclusive rights by Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) to investigate the potential for new onshore wind energy projects over 5MW in both the Tay Forest District and Cowal and Trossachs Forest District, PNE is working with FCS to advance proposals for two sites in Perth & Kinross and one site in Argyll and Bute.

Since 2011, PNE has been undertaking a range of studies to understand the suitability of the sites on the National Forest Estate. As a result, PNE is developing plans for Cowal and Trossachs Forest District Wind Farm – Bachan Burn, Tay Forest District Wind Farm – Little Rig, and Tay Forest District Wind Farm – Elrick, and will take them through the formal planning process in partnership with FCS.

The sites will mean that industry leading payments of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity could be made to communities, which could result in up to half a million pounds in total from the PNE projects alone. The plans offer
communities a range of benefit options, including the opportunity to directly invest in the project.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“I welcome this partnership between Forestry Commission (Scotland) and PNE WIND UK, which could – subject to planning permission for any projects in question – create significant opportunities for the surrounding communities.

“The Scottish Government places great importance in the ability of communities to invest in and benefit from the development of Scotland’s enormous renewable energy potential.”

Katie Newlands, Communications Manager for PNE WIND UK, commented:

“PNE WIND UK is delighted to be moving forward with plans to develop onshore wind projects on National Forest Estate. There is a vast amount of potential for renewables on National Forest Estate and by working in partnership with FCS we can bring forward the most appropriate proposals, whilst helping to meet ambitious Scottish Government renewable energy targets.

“Our plans offer a number of unique opportunities for community involvement, and we will continue to engage local residents throughout the development of our proposals.”

A Forestry Commission Scotland spokesman added: 

"As part of the Scottish Government's ambitious targets to increase the use of renewable energy, Forestry Commission Scotland is pleased to be working with PNE WIND UK to develop these sites for wind energy. 

"Developments on the national forest estate will always be carried out in a manner sensitive to the environment and all projects will go through the full planning process.

"There is plenty of potential to develop wind energy projects on the national forest estate and a key aim is to ensure that communities across Scotland benefit too. Communities will always be consulted and those
in the vicinity of the schemes will be eligible for leading edge annual payments of community benefit, as well as the opportunity to invest should they wish to do so"