Borders renewable energy at the centre of attention

Solar panels are to be fitted at Scottish Power's Forehill plant at Peterhead
Solar panels are to be fitted at Scottish Power's Forehill plant at Peterhead

The use of renewable energy in the Borders is predicted to increase in the coming years, with the region among the top areas in Scotland in terms of energy produced through solar panels.

WWF Scotland, Lightsource Renewable Energy, and the Solar Trade Association published figures this week showing how the Borders compares in solar energy stakes to other local authorities.

As of the end of December 2014, the region hosted 1,836 solar installations, providing approximately 8MWs of energy.

That compares favourably with the rest of the country - only four other regions provide more energy through solar installations.

The data was released with a call for Scotland to become “100% renewable”.

However, the effects of a large scale move towards wind energy, in particular, were flagged up by local Conservative MSP John Lamont, who drew attention to the fact that objections to wind farms across Scotland had doubled in the last 12 months.

He said: “The fact these objections have doubled in the last year shows the sheer strength of feeling among the public.

“This isn’t people complaining about a single turbine in someone’s back garden. These are major developments that go straight to the Scottish Government because they are deemed too big for councils to consider.

“Many Borders residents already believe that we have reached a saturation point here when it comes to wind farms.

“Instead of seeking a varied and balanced energy policy, they have driven ahead with their plans to have more wind energy despite the obvious public anger it is causing.”

He added it was time legislators “start listening to the views in the Borders”.