Development

Developing a wind farm requires assessment of a range of factors to take account of the many constraints on construction projects. These constraints include:

  • Environmental and cultural heritage considerations;
  • Planning policy;
  • Available land;
  • Accessibility.

Engineers establish if the site is technically viable to build; financial analysts estimate the returns on investment of pursuing the development; and environmental experts study various aspects of the site to assess and, if necessary, mitigate against any adverse impacts of the development.

You can read more in the Downloads area of the site, which includes the project's planning documents, environmental impact assessment and a non-technical summary.

Our development process includes the following subsections:

  • Technical

There are a number of technical constraints that are taken in to consideration when designing a wind farm to test its feasibility and to ensure that the design minimises any potential impacts. These include:

  • designing the layout of the turbines based on known technical constraints;
  • a review of potential sources of construction materials;
  • designing the access route, site track layout and access junctions;
  • drawings to accompany the planning application, including the turbines, hard-standing requirements and substation/control building layouts.

Collecting wind energy data is an important part of the technical assessment of the site and allows a more accurate forecast of the potential energy yield of the wind farm. Temporary meteorological masts have been installed on site to collect wind resource data.

  • Environmental

A wide variety of environmental considerations are taken in to account which are presented in detail in the Environmental Impact section .

  • Planning

In order to build a wind farm at Earlshaugh, our proposals will need to be granted planning permission by the Scottish Government. Since the project will have a capacity of over 50MW it is subject to a Section 36 application.

We submitted our Section 36 application to the Energy Consents Unit at the Scottish Government in 2008 and Addenda in 2011 and 2013. You can find out more here or download the documents on our page.

As part of the application we submitted a Pre-application Consultation Report outlining our consultation activities throughout the project's development and a full Environmental Statement with supporting documents, which assesses the environmental impacts of the project.

Our proposals have taken into account the framework of policies contained within the local development plan, as well as national planning policy and guidance.

A number of statutory consultees were consulted on our application, these include:

  • Dumfries and Galloway Council
  • Scottish Borders Council
  • SNH
  • SEPA

We expect our application to go to Public Inquiry in 2014. Based on the Reporter's recommendation a decision will be made by the Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism.

  • Construction

Work has been undertaken by specialist engineers to examine the technical feasibility of constructing a wind farm at Earlshaugh, including ensuring the final design minimises potential impacts. This work includes:

  • Designing the layout of the turbines based on known technical constraints;
  • A review of potential sources of construction materials, including the possible use of on site borrow pits for construction materials;
  • Designing the access route, site track layout and access junctions.

The construction of Earlshaugh Wind Farm will take approximately 2 years. Access tracks will be constructed between the turbines and a sub-station and control compound built on the site. Turbines will be installed on concrete foundations, with the towers, nacelles and blades lifted into place using cranes. Electrical cables between all of the turbines and the control building will be buried underground and run alongside the access tracks to minimise ground disturbance.

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