£1billion wind farm investment to create 600 jobs in Scotland

£1billion wind farm investment to create 600 jobs in Scotland
A £1billion investment in wind farm projects across Scotland led by renewable energy developer Burcote Wind could create almost 600 jobs and power more than half a million homes.

The independent UK firm, which has its headquarters in Dunfermline, has plans to develop 10 wind farms at locations across Scotland, totalling nearly 800MW of installed electricity generating capacity.

If consented, the projects could produce an annual electricity output of around 2.6million megawatt hours, enough to meet the energy needs of 554,000 homes and displace more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide which would otherwise be produced by fossil fuel power plants.

The 10 pipeline projects represent a total investment of around £1.08bn, including pre-planning costs, capital expenditure on turbines and grid connection upgrades, and ongoing operating costs.

As well as creating around 110 permanent jobs in engineering and maintenance around the wind farms, the schemes are also expected to support approximately 475 construction jobs during their build phases.

Burcote Wind is currently consulting on proposals for four sites, for which planning applications will be submitted over the coming 18 months. Six other sites are at early stages of environmental and technical appraisal and not yet in the public domain.

At each site, Burcote Wind is proposing to establish community benefit funds which it hopes will create a long lasting legacy by funding education and training places at local colleges in engineering and other renewables-related subjects, as well as supporting other local priorities.

Graham Brown, chairman of Burcote Wind, said: "Our pipeline of projects represents a major investment in Scotland's renewables sector worth around £1bn, with the potential to create and support nearly 600 jobs.

"We're adamant that we want our projects to contribute to Scotland's ambitions to reinvigorate its industrial base. So as well as creating skilled jobs, we are exploring opportunities to use community benefit funding to create training opportunities for young people at local colleges and help equip our workforce with the skills needed for Scotland to take full advantage of the huge economic potential the renewables industry has to offer.

"By providing vital investment in skills, these projects can help Scotland become a world leader in renewables technology in the years to come."

In a statement released by the Scottish government, First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the plans. He said: "Burcote's announcement is very welcome and further evidence of the significant interest from a range of businesses in investing in Scotland's world leading renewable energy industry.

"Scotland's renewable energy sector is estimated to have secured a record breaking £750m of investment in the year to October 2011, with a pipeline of proposed projects with 17 gigawatts of generating capacity, worth an estimated capital investment of £46billion.

"While each project will be subject to the appropriate planning processes, this proposed investment underlines yet again how our natural resources are creating new, green jobs and putting Scotland at the forefront of the renewables revolution."

Laura Hopperton

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