Aikengall wind farm could be increased by 30 turbines, which would bring the number up to 65 if plans for a third extension are approved.
Crystal Rig, its neighbouring wind farm is also looking at a fourth expansion.
Between them they already have planning consent for 120 turbines, and could potentially have over 160 turbines between 80-145m in height operating in the Lammermuirs on the Berwickshire/East Lothian border.
Aikengall applicants Community Windpower Ltd (CWL) states: “The operational and consented wind farms at Aikengall form a pattern of development along the elevated ridgelines of the Lammermuirs, ensuring that wind farm development is associated with the large-scale, simple uplands rather than the more complex fringe areas that form the northern and southern foothills.”
The existing Aikengall Community Wind Farm has 16 operational turbines, with a further 19 turbines (Aikengall II) consented.
The additional 30 turbines will be taller than any others at Aikengall or Crystal Rig wind farms at 145 metres high, and in its application submitted to Scottish Borders Council last week, the company says: “This is considered to be appropriate in relation to the scale of the landform on and around the site, and in relation to the adjacent consented development at Aikengall II.”
Spare grid connection capacity is one of the main reasons both Community Windpower Ltd (Aikengall) and Crystal Rig operators are aiming to expand further in the Lammermuirs.
CWL says: “The opportunity to develop this extension has arisen due to the availability of spare grid connection capacity and infrastructure due to a reduction in turbine numbers in conjunction with the Aikengall II – Wester Dod Community Wind Farm.”
But anti-wind farm campaigner Mark Rowley is somewhat incredulous about this.
“Ironically grid capacity is cited as the driving force – this is on the same bit of grid that has been shut down at a cost of £2 million in the last month alone,” he said. “A very bizarre world!”
Public consultation on this 30 turbine wind farm extension is due to begin in June, with public exhibitions in local community venues.
Residents will be given a chance to view the plans and discuss the community benefits of the scheme, which are being estimated at around £450,000 a year and £11.2 million over the 25-year expected lifetime of the wind farm.
Due to the size of the proposed wind farm (generating capacity of over 50MW), final consent will have to come from the Scottish Government