In 2012, Banks Renewables planned a six turbine wind farm to be situated near Lochore Meadows, between Kelty and Lochgelly. Their plans never came to fruition amidst calls from Councillors seeking to protect the visual amenities afforded to the country park and residents.

At the time, the local councillor for the Kelty area; Alex Rowley, stated;

As a local councillor for Kelty I am highlighting this example as one that does not meet the current guidelines and is a perfect example of developers ignoring the current policy. Kelty is being surrounded by applications to build these industrial structures this one is a perfect example of developers simply ignoring the advice they are being given. The proposed site sits on the edge of the Country Park and is close to the village. These reasons alone mean it is ruled out as an acceptable site and should be recommended for refusal on solid planning grounds and yet the developer comes along trying to offer all sorts of inducements creating uncertainty. 1

At the same time, local councillor Mark Hood had also spoken out against the proposal;

Lochore Country Park is a great asset to this area and is something we should be protecting to ensure it remains unspoiled. I have to question the judgement of local councillors who seem more concerned about the cost to the council if the application is lost on appeal than the impact a wind turbine would have were it to be erected on the boundary of the park……We have over 500,000 visitors to the country park each year; it’s one of Fife’s most popular visitor attractions. Why should we take a risk with such a popular venue? In stead of limiting the parks potential we should be looking to enhance and develop it. 2

The application for an anemometer mast was rejected by councillors at the planning committee which stopped the Banks Renewables proposal from going ahead.

Fast forward to 2015, the same application is due to be submitted for development, this time by AMEC Wind Developments who have met with Kelty Community Council and will be giving a presentation to Lochgelly Community Council on 11th February 2015 (6:30pm at 385), for a six turbine wind farm development, plans which they bought from Banks Renewables.

This time, AMEC Wind Developments are taking a different approach on their wind farm by offering an increased incentive for approval, by terming the wind farm a ‘community’ wind farm, and offering the community ownership of one of the turbines.

However, the community ownership is not clear at this point, and it appears from documentation from AMEC that although a turbine is being offered, this will in fact be a virtual turbine;

AWD would be offering the community the opportunity to own one virtual turbine and the associated revenue from this (i.e. 1/5th to 1/6th) in addition to a community benefits package of £5000 per MW/a…….If planning permission is obtained, then the community will be offered a virtual turbine share of the development. 3

With a paltry sum being offered for the virtual turbine, community ownership becomes merely a marketing exercise to try and gather support for their proposals. Even worse, to participate in the ownership of 1/5th – 1/6th of the virtual turbine, costs will be attached to the development which is expected to be paid by the local communities which have yet to be identified by the developer;

An initial financing modeling exercise has been undertaken to indicate the likely sums of money involved. It must be noted that these figures must be treated as largely indicative as they are based on a number of assumptions which are listed below the model outputs. These models will be refined and adjusted as and when more data and information becomes available.


Construction Costs

Developer – £12.5m
Community – £2.5m
Total Cost: £15m

80% Loan

Developer – £10m
Community – £2m
Total Cost: £12m

20% Equity Stake

Developer – £2.5m
Community – £0.5m
Total Cost: £3m

Predicted Revenue after operating costs and loan repayments (Total)

Developer – £26mm
Community – £5.2m + £1.725m community benefit fund
Total Cost: £31.2m

Predicted Revenue per annum after operating costs and loan repayments

Developer – £1.04m
Community – £208k + £69k community benefit fund
Total Cost: £1.04m

Predicted revenue is based on income from Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) and assumes the project will be operation before March 2017. 4

If the development is approved local communities are expected to fund 20% of the total project costs, yet they are being denied 20% of ownership, instead a measly offer of 1/5th to 1/6th profit from 16.66% of the development (one turbine – albeit a virtual turbine).

Since the development is being promoted as a community wind farm on the thinnest pretext, will this be supported by councillors in a U-turn from previous statements about the development, since MSP Alex Rowley has already highlighted his support for community wind farms?;

“Little Raith is a good example where the owners refuse point blank to even reconsider making the community payments up to what is the national accepted standard payment and in doing so they are only really interested in their profits. We must not let this kind of greed continue and hence my view that we must look at community ownership for any further developments…..we can all be more proactive in supporting community ownership of renewable developments” 5

Time will only tell whether this application will be supported or rejected by local councillors.

With 6 turbines in the pipeline for the North of Lochgelly and another 4 turbines being proposed by Fife Council in the same area 6, some residents will not be looking forward to the destruction of their visual amenity, nor the devaluation of their properties 7.

Sources

  1. Time out for turbines – Alex Rowley http://www.alexrowley.org/time-out-for-turbines/
  2. Mark Hood – Poor judgement on wind Turbines at Lochore Park = http://www.markhood.org/poor-judgement-on-wind-turbine-at-lochore-park
  3. AMEC Wind Developments – Hilton Wind Farm – Amec-Proposal.compressed
  4. AMEC Wind Developments – Hilton Wind Farm – Amec-Proposal.compressed
  5. Dunfermline Press – MSP COndemns greed over wind farms – http://www.dunfermlinepress.com/news/villages/articles/2014/10/28/513666-msp-condemns-greed-over-wind-farms/
  6. 15/00243/SCO – http://planning.fife.gov.uk/online/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=NIMR97HF01A00
  7. Wind Turbines and Property – http://www.windbyte.co.uk/housing.html
Load More Related Articles
Load More By Loch of Shining Waters
Load More In Environment

6 Comments

  1. Margaret McBride

    February 20, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for this very useful information. It seems inconceivable that our honourable councillors would make a u turn just because a possible paltry return is offered on a large initial investment. I am sure the council could get a far better return elsewhere without ruining the environment. Lochore meadows country park is one of the few scenic amenities left in this area. To ruin this would be tragic for this area. The Lochgelly/Kelty/ Cowdenbeath area already has it’s fair share of these monstrosities. Anyone know when the council decision is due? When will it be open to public consultation?

    Reply

    • Lochgelly

      February 23, 2015 at 11:06 am

      The application has still to be submitted as a planning application. At the moment AMEC are meeting with the various community councils and other groups.

      As soon as the application has been submitted to Fife Council we will give details of the application and information on how to get involved in the consultation.

      Reply

      • Margaret McBride

        February 24, 2015 at 6:50 pm

        Thanks. I notice that the scoping opinion application for these turbines has been withdrawn from the fife council planning site. Is this good news?

        Reply

        • Lochgelly

          February 25, 2015 at 7:20 am

          It’s partially good news, the scoping opinion was for 4 turbines to be owned and operated by Fife Council at the north of Lochgelly/Lochore Meadows. The AMEC proposal is separate, but at least the amount of potential turbines being planned for the area has been reduced to the 6 proposed by AMEC.

          Reply

          • Margaret McBride

            February 25, 2015 at 6:09 pm

            Thanks Lochgelly. I didn’t realise that there were 2 separate turbine proposals for Lochore. I have just had a letter from AMEC stating that they will shortly be submitting a scoping report to fife council and expect to submit a full planning application in June. Apparently they have a lot of support for the project! Luckily I have plenty time on my hands to work on objections and write letters.

          • Lochgelly

            March 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm

            Thanks for the info Margaret. Developers always claim support, even Kennedy Renewables claimed support despite over 300 objections and only 12 letters of support.

Leave a Reply

All fields are optional. You do not have to use your real name, pseudonyms are accepted.

Check Also

Mossmorran Action Group concerned that roundtable event is politically partisan

A local community group representing residents adversely impacted by the operations of Mos…