Offshore wind farm exhibitions in East Lothian

Residents in the Dunbar area are to have their say about a £1.1 billion offshore wind farm planned for the Firth of Forth.

Mainstream Renewable Power, the global renewable energy developer, is holding consultation exhibitions this week for local communities which might see some impact from the turbines which will be located 30km from Torness Nuclear Power Station.

In February 2009, the company was awarded the exclusive rights by the Scottish Government to develop the Neart na Gaoith wind farm about 15.5km east of Fife Ness.

The site was chosen for its development suitability, combining acceptable water depth and ground conditions, low shipping densities and optimal wind speeds.

It is proposed that the onshore cable will come onshore near Torness Nuclear Power Station at Dunbar and connect to an extension of the existing Crystal Rig sub-station.

Neart na Gaoith, gaelic for ‘strength of the wind,’ has the potential to generate 420mw of renewable energy which is enough to power 325,000 Scottish homes.

Zoe Crutchfield of Mainstream said: “It’s very important for us that the local community has plenty of opportunity to get their opinions heard and to voice any concerns they may have so that their views are taken into account. We have already undertaken extensive scoping work and identified key people issues, such as fishing and aviation radar, which we are addressing directly with those who will be most affected.

“Now it’s the community’s turn and that’s why we are holding these exhibitions.”

Local wildlife issues are also under consideration, with the potential impact on birds and marine mammal populations considered to be key issues for the development.

Extensive, long term marine mammal and bird surveys are currently taking place. Their outcomes will be analysed and fed into the project.

“We understand that wind farm developments can lead to some polarised views, especially where wildlife is concerned so we want to show that we are taking wildlife and environmental issues very seriously.

“Coming along to an event like these will let people see the steps we are taking to ensure that environmental impacts are minimised,” added Ms Crutchfield.

Consultations were due take place at Innerwick Village Hall on Tuesday and Hallhill Healthy Living Centre, Kellie Road, Dunbar, on Wednesday.

At each event there wase a small exhibition on the proposed wind farm, computer simulations of how it might look from the shore and members of the Mainstream team were present to answer visitors’ questions.