Consent for the proposal of Scotland’s largest onshore wind farm was granted by Scottish Ministers in 2007 after the proposal promised to support more than 150 jobs and to provide enough electricity to power 73,000 homes. Seven years later and Harestanes has been officially opened by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. Scottish Power Renewables (SPR) is behind the 68 turbine scheme which cost £160m – and they are not stopping there! SPR are keen to take advantage of the excellent wind resource in the area and an application for an additional seven turbines was submitted in November 2013 which aims to increase the operational efficiency of the existing wind farm. Ewing has applauded the project and said the wind farm could help meet Scotland’s 100% renewable energy target.
The construction has delivered a range of benefits including a new turbine technician course at Dumfries and Galloway College which should provide future career opportunities for young people in the area.Undoubtedly a lot of effort goes into the construction of these large onshore wind farms and the benefits to the local community are significant. Scotland is famed for its impressive wind resource and the support offered by Scottish Ministers will ensure wind projects like this reach their full potential.
Furthermore, it is refreshing to see plans for Harestanes to be used recreationally by members of the public. New paths have been developed to attract walkers, cyclists, joggers and even fans of wind farms, and the Forestry Commission Scotland and SPR have been working together to deliver a new specially designed mountain bike track. Maybe renewable energy projects can be fun for the community after all?