Lochgelly is set to get it’s own wind farm, which is set to be completed within 12 months and will compromise of 9 nine turbines, with the capacity to generate 27 megawatts which is the equivilent power to supply roughly 15,000 households on a yearly basis.
For those that are against the wind farm, it is too late to make your views known, as the planning was approved in March 2009.
The wind farm will be situated on the ground for at least 25 years, and during this time, a large swathe of land will be closed from public access, due to health and safety reasons. The map below details the intended site plan which will prevent people from being able to walk around the loch.
The wind farm is a project between West Coast Energy and Kennedy Power and they are promising to invest £2000 per megawatt created for a local community fund, to be split between Auchtertool, Lochgelly, Lumphinnans, and Cowdenbeath.
A trust will be made up from people from the 4 areas to discuss how this money should be divided between the communities, and for what purpose it is to be used for. We shall supply more details when we find out who the group is compromised of and any official contact details.
Effects on local wildlife
So far no attempt has been made to measure the impact this wind farm will have on the bat population at Loch Gelly, however conditions have been set on the wind farm to monitor the impact on the bird population, which includes a regular visitation from a bird surveyor Part of the remit includes:
- Visit A: Arrive mid-morning, make a count of the number of geese and other birds feeding at the site looking for goose and other bird carcasses.
- Visit B: Arrive mid-afternoon, make a count of the number of geese and other birds feeding at the site looking for goose and other bird carcasses.
So, we are told that wind farms will help protect our environment, but it is carefully omitted from press reports that the wind farm will damage the local bird life population, and local bat population (which will not be monitored).
Bats are at risk as scientists have discovered that the rotating blades produce a change in air pressure which can cause internal injuries to bats. This was first discovered by Canadian scientists investigating a wind farm in south-western Alberta, that had a high number of bat carcasses.
“An atmospheric pressure drop at wind turbine blades is an undetectable – and potentially unforseeable – hazard for bats, thus partially explaining the large number of bat fatalities at these specific structures,” Erin Baerwald, University of Calgary, Research Team Leader.
The research discovered that 90% of the bat carcasses had suffered internal injuries which was believed to be caused by the bats flying into a low pressure zone, which causes their lungs to suddenly expand, bursting capillaries in the surrounding tissue which then becomes flooded with blood.
This does not affect birds which have more rigid and robust lungs.
“Given that bats are far more susceptible to barotrauma than birds, and that bat fatalities at wind turbines far outnumber bird fatalities at most sites, wildlife fatalities at wind turbines are now a bat issue, not a bird issue,” said Ms Baerwald.
Other issues of concern for the locality include the noise pollution that will be generated from the wind farm, this area has been played down, or avoided completely in local press reports.
As for the money that will be generated (if running at full capacity, will amount to £54,000 per year), we will have to see how this will be split between the 4 communities, and for what purpose this money will be used.
Only time will tell, if this money will be of value locally, and worth living with the impact that the wind farm will ultimately have on the Lochgelly and Lumphinnans community.