Plan re­vealed for largest so­lar farm

De­vel­op­ment could pro­duce elec­tric­ity for 12,000 homes

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JIM MIL­LAR

A “very thor­ough com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion” will be­gin next year as de­vel­op­ers seek per­mis­sion for Scot­land’s largest so­lar farm, in the An­gus coun­try­side.

En­ergy firm Light­source BP has pin­pointed a sprawl­ing plot near Piper­dam for the scheme.

If it reaches its 49.9MW peak, it would match the largest so­lar farm in the coun­try and gen­er­ate more en­ergy than all ex­ist­ing op­er­a­tional com­mu­nity and lo­cally-owned re­new­able so­lar farms in Scot­land put to­gether.

Es­ti­mates sug­gest it could pro­duce enough elec­tric­ity to power 12,000 homes.

A spokesper­son for the firm stressed the ap­pli­ca­tion is at its ear­li­est stage but the con­cept has been wel­comed.

An­gus Coun­cil leader David Fair­weather said: “Com­mu­ni­ties and a num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions will have to be con­sulted... but there is no ques­tion that so­lar farms can be much less vis­ually in­tru­sive than, for ex­am­ple, wind farms.”

A “spec­u­la­tive” ap­pli­ca­tion to con­struct the joint largest so­lar en­ergy farm in Scot­land is to go be­fore plan­ners.

A pro­posal of ap­pli­ca­tion no­tice has been lodged with An­gus Coun­cil, fir­ing the start­ing pis­tol on a process that could see so­lar ar­rays con­structed on a sub­stan­tial site to the west of Fowlis vil­lage, and south of Piper­dam.

How­ever, a spokesper­son for the ap­pli­cant stressed it is a “spec­u­la­tive ap­pli­ca­tion” and it is “very, very, early days.”

She said: “This is ef­fec­tively a screen­ing ap­pli­ca­tion, and de­tailed as­sess­ments have to be car­ried out which may see the pro­ject dropped.

“There are a num­ber of is­sues that have to be taken into ac­count when choos­ing a site, in­clud­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, her­itage and other en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ments.

“We also have a very thor­ough com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion process that we un­der­take.”

With a max­i­mum ca­pac­ity of 49.99MW, the scale of the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment matches the largest so­lar farm ap­pli­ca­tion in Scot­land, lo­cated at a dis­used air­field in Mo­ray.

The An­gus farm also has po­ten­tial to ex­ceed the en­tire megawatt ca­pac­ity of all op­er­a­tional com­mu­nity and lo­cal­ly­owned re­new­able so­lar farms in Scot­land, which in 2017 stood at 45MW, con­tribut­ing 7% of the to­tal re­new­able en­ergy gen­er­ated north of the bor­der.

Es­ti­mates vary, but sim­i­lar-sized so­lar farms can pro­duce enough elec­tric­ity to power around 12,000 homes.

The ap­pli­ca­tion, if ap­proved, would see the in­stal­la­tion of a ground mounted so­lar en­ergy gen­er­a­tion sys­tem, as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture, in­clud­ing pho­to­voltaic pan­els, sub­sta­tions, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions build­ing, and ac­cess tracks, CCTV and fenc­ing.

The ap­pli­ca­tion was wel­comed in prin­ci­ple by An­gus Coun­cil leader David Fair­weather.

He said: “Ob­vi­ously, this is the very start of the process, but there is no ques­tion that we as a coun­try must con­tinue to ex­plore re­new­able en­ergy op­por­tu­ni­ties which will al­low us to de­crease our re­liance on fos­sil fu­els.”

The firm be­hind the ap­pli­ca­tion is Light­source BP.

A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion event is sched­uled to take place on Jan­uary 28 at Easter Fowlis Hall from 2pm- 7.30pm.

How the so­lar en­ergy farm could shape up if it gains ap­proval from An­gus Coun­cil.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.