The North Kyle Energy Project, located in East Ayrshire, presents an outstanding opportunity for generating clean, renewable energy. An imaginative and eco-friendly regeneration of derelict former surface mining areas and forested areas, the project has the potential to contribute immensely to the regeneration of North Kyle and the surrounding communities.
The site comprises a central forested area and various area previously subject to surface mining. It is approximately 3km north east of Dalmellington, 6km west of New Cumnock, and 2km south of Skares.
A brief history
At the liquidation of Scottish Coal and ATH Resources in 2013 much of the local mined land outwith FCS’ ownership was acquired by Hargreaves, as part of a package of land and operational sites across Scotland’s coalfields.
The North Kyle Wind Energy project land is now held under option by Brockwell Energy. The mined areas outwith the forest are in various states of ownership, abandonment and restoration. One area is still being worked for coal at House of Water.
The South-West Scotland Interconnector (275kV) overhead power line runs through the site in roughly a north to south direction.
Currently, there is limited public access to the site due to the previous opencast operations and ongoing commercial forestry operations.
Initial feasibility studies confirmed the development site as being suitable for a wind energy project for the following principal reasons:
Excellent wind resource
Lack of designated wildlife sites
Good transport links both within and outwith the site
Proximity and likely availability of a grid connection
Environmental surveys of the site began in 2016 over the site, with a strong focus on ecology and bird life. These detailed studies have continue throughout 2018 and are now complete.
Because of the potential capacity of over 200MW, the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit (ECU) will be the body responsible for consenting the energy project.
ECU issued a scoping opinion and this is being taken into account as we continue to develop our design for the site. Various constraints, including previous, ongoing and committed restoration works, as well as forestry operations, are being taken into account to ensure none of these works are compromised.
Submission of a planning application is programmed for mid-2019. If consented, it is likely that construction would start in 2021 and the site become operational in 2024.
Consultation and engagement is at the heart of the Brockwell development ethos.
We communicate at a grassroots level with residents and community groups – we love to listen and enjoy dialogue
Our public exhibitions and consultation events give everyone the opportunity to view our plans in detail, discuss these in person and provide feedback
We actively seek views on how to fulfil the economic and social aspirations of the local community
We liaise with Community Councillors, East Ayrshire Councillors, MSPs and MPs
We ensure the local and national press are informed of details of our project
Community projects and benefits
The favourable topography and potentially excellent wind resources of North Kyle means Brockwell has been able to attract investment that allows our project to be developed without subsidy and, therefore, create long-term value for the local communities.
The project also offers the potential to deliver significant long-term community benefit, land rentals and business rates contributions.
In fact, as well as the standard community benefit, we hope to generate significant additional finance to fund a number of goals and opportunities, as well as local economic development plans. These include projects around regeneration, public access, leisure, ecology and long-term job creation. All interested local parties can be assured we will proactively consult on allocation of funds as the project design progresses.
Brockwell are aware of various community and stakeholder projects and we are keen to ensure our proposals do not conflict or compromise ongoing activities.
Our project will make available, following construction, an industry standard £5k/MW of installed capacity as community benefit. In addition, it is our intention to provide an initial significant extra voluntary contribution, starting ahead of construction at financial close, to aid regeneration in the local area. The actual amount offered will be related to the total MW capacity of the site; for example, for a 300MW site the amount would be £10M. As these contributions are significant sums of money, it is proposed a North Kyle Trust Fund be set up to administer the funds.
At Brockwell Energy we love to listen and engage – which is why we very much look forward to discussing our North Kyle Wind Energy Project with local residents and communities.