Huge wind turbines planned

A turbine similar to this lost a nose cone recently.
A turbine similar to this lost a nose cone recently.

The Lammermuirs could be home to Scotland’s tallest wind turbines if plans for an extension to Crystal Rig wind farm go ahead.

Operator Fred Olsen Ltd had plans for a 26-turbine fourth extension to the 90+ turbine wind farm, but is now looking at changing those plans after the UK Government removed financial support for onshore wind projects.

The renewable energy company wants to reduce the number of turbines to 11, but increase their height from the proposed 135m to 200m, making them the highest turbines in the country and twice the height of the tallest turbines currently operating at Crystal Rig.

An application for a scoping report for the 11 turbines was submitted to Scottish Borders Council last week and public exhibitions are scheduled to take place “in early 2017”.

A pre-scoping briefing note prepared on behalf of Crystal Rig’s operator, Natural Power Consultants, says: “Following the removal of financial support for onshore wind projects in the UK, a review has been undertaken on the proposed Crystal Rig phase-four wind farm layout. It now has a smaller overall footprint than the original proposal.

“Importantly, while it is proposed that the height of turbines will increase to allow greater wind capture, and thus increased yields, appropriate considerations have been given to impacts in terms of extent of visibility, collision risk, noise impacts and impacts on aviation and communication interests.”

Giving a presentation to Scottish Borders Council’s Berwickshire area forum last week, the authority’s principal officer for plans and research, Charles Johnston, said that the region is now likely to see applications for turbines so high they would require lights to warn aircraft of their location.

When Crystal Rig first became operational in 2004 it was the largest wind farm in Scotland, now it looks like it could take a second record, for the tallest turbines in the country.

The first 20 turbines at Crystal Rig were completed in 2004 and another five were added in 2007. By 2010 a further 60 turbines – 93m high – had been added and in 2015 consent was given for another six, which are 100m tall.

“Residents who have seen the scoping document are shocked at the huge scale of the proposed turbines – at 200m tall they would be double the height of the original 20 at Crystal Rig I which residents supported,” said Lammermuir Community Council chairman Mark Rowley.

“At 200m tall, they would be double the height of the original 20 at Crystal Rig, which residents supported.

“200m turbines would be the largest constructed in the Scottish Borders or Scotland.

“Given the growing millions of pounds paid to Crystal Rig II to cease production residents will struggle to understand the need for further development on this scale.”