RES has submitted a planning application for its 21-wind turbine Bloch Wind Farm to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit for determination. Located on land adjacent to the existing Solwaybank Wind Farm, Langholm, Dumfries and Galloway, the proposal has an installed capacity of up to 126MW.
Following results of technical and environmental surveys and feedback from stakeholders and the local community during the respective public consultations held in June and October 2022, a number of design changes have been made to the proposal. These include reducing the size of the scheme from 22 to 21 wind turbines and reducing the tip height of 11 wind turbines to lessen visibility.
If consented, Bloch Wind Farm would be capable of generating enough clean, low-cost electricity to meet the annual demand of around 100,000 homes each year, in turn contributing to Scotland’s target of 50% energy consumption from renewables by 2030 and helping towards tackling the pressing issue of climate change. It will also provide a tailored package of benefits aligned with community priorities to help deliver local projects that will secure long-term economic, social and environmental benefits.
James Cameron, Development Project Manager at RES, explained: “We believe that onshore wind should provide direct, lasting benefits to local communities and we have worked with local people to explore ideas for a package of community benefits, which would be delivered as part of the project.
“The feedback received to date demonstrates that discounting the annual electricity bills of residents living closest to Bloch Wind Farm, improved broadband provision and an educational scheme are the preferred opportunities. We’ll keep looking at these opportunities with local people and implement the favoured option as a direct local benefit, if consented.”
Onshore wind, together with offshore wind and large scale solar, is the cheapest form of new electricity generation. It also increases energy security by reducing reliance on imports and builds our resilience to sudden fossil fuel price fluctuations or the uncertainty of global markets. With the current cost of living crisis and climate change emergency, wind, as a free and inexhaustible source of energy, has an essential role to play as part of a balanced energy mix.
In Scotland, RES has developed and/or constructed 21 wind farms with a total generation capacity of 597MW. The Scottish Government has set a legally binding target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2045 and onshore wind projects like Bloch Wind Farm are crucial to help achieve these targets and support the transition to a zero-carbon future.
Previously known as Solwaybank Extension, the scheme has been renamed to better reflect its location close to Bloch Hill.