The renewable energy division of North East employer The Banks Group is set to build Scotland’s tallest onshore wind farm.
Banks Renewables has secured approval from the Scottish government for the Lethans wind farm in East Ayrshire, a project which will entail 22 turbines with a maximum tip height of 220m.
The Lethans scheme will have a maximum output of 132 MW, which is enough to meet the annual energy needs of around 79,000 homes.
Over the 30 years of its lifespan, it will contribute at least £7.1m into a local community benefit fund, with a further £7.1m going to East Ayrshire Council’s Renewable Energy Fund.
At least £16m is expected to be invested in the local supply chain with the construction of the Lethans scheme, which is scheduled to begin in 2022, while a £1.3m skills and training fund which aims to help up to 440 people to get into work or training will also be provided.
County Durham-headquartered Banks Renewables is already one of the leading owner/operators in the UK’s onshore wind sector and currently has a total of ten operational onshore wind farms across northern England and Scotland.
Once built, Lethans will bring Banks’ operational wind farm portfolio in Scotland up to 300MW, and up to 400MW in the UK in total.
Last year, its two North East wind farms – Moor House near Darlington and Lambs Hill to the north west of Stockton – generated enough electricity between them to meet the annual power needs of more than 18,000 homes, and by doing so, displaced around 14,150 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network.
The family-owned firm is currently looking at opportunities to deploy further renewable energy technologies at sites across northern England and recently announced plans for a new solar energy park to the south east of Leeds.
Robin Winstanley, sustainability and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables, says: “This has taken many years of hard work, planning and close consultation with the local community and it is a major milestone to see it over the line.
“As well as being a meaningful advance in Scotland’s green energy agenda, approval for Lethans will also deliver real, deep and long-lasting benefits to the local people, the environment and to the economy of East Ayrshire.
“Onshore wind is acknowledged as the most popular and cost-effective means of renewable energy generation and we’re very pleased to be adding even more capacity to our wind farm portfolio.
“The UK has set itself ambitious targets for renewable energy generation which require new infrastructure and generating facilities to be developed in appropriate locations, and we’re currently working on a number of innovative renewable energy projects which will further increase our contribution towards the UK’s ‘net zero’ goals.
“Using the widest possible range of renewable energy generation technologies will allow the UK to decarbonise its power supply and achieve its climate change targets more quickly, while also benefiting British consumers through lower energy prices.”