BayWa r.e. is progressing the development of the proposed North Lowther Energy Initiative (NLEI) in the Lowther Hills between Sanquhar and Wanlockhead in Dumfries and Galloway.
BayWa r.e. acquired the NLEI project in May 2019 as part of its purchase of Forsa Energy’s renewable energy portfolio. The NLEI project comprises 30 turbines with a maximum height to blade tip of 149m and NLEI has secured a grid connection for up to 151 MW.
A Section 36 application was submitted to the Scottish Government in June 2017 following a period of extensive environmental survey, assessment and consultation. This original submission was for a development of 35 wind turbines. Further environmental information was submitted in April 2018. This included the removal of 5 turbines to avoid visual impacts on the Mennock Pass to the south of the site.
A Public Local Inquiry into the Application is scheduled to take place in early October 2019, following which a report will be prepared by the Government appointed Reporter responsible for running the PLI. This report will include a recommendation to inform the Scottish Minister’s determination of the application.
The project would also see the creation of a significant conservation management plan in addition to the wind farm development, which could see ecological benefits delivered at a regional scale.
NLEI has also outlined that it will offer community benefit and the opportunity to participate in shared ownership of the scheme in line with Scottish Government Good Practice Principles for Shared Ownership of Onshore Renewable Energy Developments.
If the project proceeds, the economic, environmental and community benefits could be transformative.