The proposed windfarm on Mochrum Fell is currently undergoing public consultation. The scheme which is already approved, detail of which can be found in earlier posts, is seeking to increase turbine height from 126.5m to 149.9m and remove the most prominent turbine – reducing the overall number from 8 to 7. If you live locally you will have received detail on this. If you have an interest in the area, or live locally and have not received anything further detail can be found here.
Key to note is due to the likely increase in generating capacity of the scheme the community benefit fund will now be in the region of £4.41 million (index linked) for the 30 years of the scheme.
As one of the landowners who would benefit from this scheme I am not impartial. I am however running a diverse business that must be sustainable if it is to continue to support the local economy, be that through employment, affordable housing, tourism or primary production. We have been a local employer and resident since the 19th century and my wife and I have huge aspirations to grow our business base further, which in turn will support the local economy both directly and indirectly. Estates require significant investment and more often than not this exceeds revenue. Diversification is key to business success. We see our region, together with so many in Dumfries and Galloway, as having huge tourism potential. Unlocking this potential requires capital and this scheme provides that capital both for the local community and ourselves.
The economy of Dumfries and Galloway is too dependent on few economic drivers, all seasonally variable: agriculture, forestry and tourism. In comparison, rentals and community benefits from renewable electricity generation is stable, improving the diversity and resilience of the local economy. At an indirect level, income from windfarms is readily recycled within the local area, providing an important multiplier effect and positive feedback for self-employment and the working population, with their consequent need for services. The construction phase of this project will support numerous jobs in Scotland. Once operational it will support a significant number of full time jobs ( a number of which will be in Dumfries and Galloway). Adding the evidence from Government Research that 75% of tourists believe windfarms have a beneficial or neutral impact on our landscape, it would be short sighted for us to miss such an opportunity for what is essentially something that will exist on our landscape for only 30 years.
In summary, any effects on the landscape and visual amenity must be weighed up against not only the Scottish Governments policy requirements to meet renewable energy targets, but also the socio-economic benefits the scheme will bring to the local economy, both directly and indirectly. This scheme should be supported.