Last year EDF Energy Renewables submitted a planning application for a proposed 18 turbine wind farm with a maximum generating capacity of 59.4 megawatts (MW), near Ardrishaig. The proposal, known as Cruach Brenfield, falls within the Argyll and Bute Council jurisdiction.

The wind farm would be capable of producing enough clean energy for the local grid to supply the annual requirements of more than 31,700 homes and would lead to savings of up to 58,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first year of operation.

As the proposal exceeds 50MW, the planning application has been submitted to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit (ECDU). They are now carrying out their own consultation exercise with regard to the proposal, which includes statutory and non statutory consultees and the local community. Argyll and Bute Council are being consulted on the proposal and being asked for their formal views. They will consider their response at their August planning committee meeting.  

Darren Cuming, Onshore Wind Development Manager at EDF Energy Renewables‚ said: “After presenting our initial design at a number of exhibitions and events over the last two years, we have listened to local opinion and taken on board their views. After also listening to statutory consultees and reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment, we have submitted a revised proposal which addresses many of the concerns raised.”

Should the proposal go ahead a dedicated local Community Benefit Fund will be established that will provide a fund of £5,000 per installed megawatt (MW) each year over the lifetime of the wind farm. This would provide a locally administered fund of up to £300,000 each year and approximately £7.4 million over the expected 25 year lifetime of the wind farm. The fund would be used for the benefit of local projects, events and community organisations. 

EDF Energy Renewables supports the idea of local community ownership in wind farms and has agreed in principle to give the local community the option to purchase a revenue share of up to 10% in the wind farm development. 

EDF Energy have already held two meetings with local community representatives to examine how these economic benefits can be distributed throughout the local area to maximise their impact should the development be constructed. More meetings will be planned as the application progresses.

EDF Energy will again attend and sponsor both the Ardrishaig and MS Lochgilphead galas this year. Darren continues “At the galas we will have information about the proposal and we would like to encourage anyone who has a question or is interested in the project to come along to discuss the revised plans with us.”