Scotland opens forestry land to wind development

UK: The Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), which owns up to 10% of Scotland’s land mass, has announced plans to work with developers and build wind farms on its property.

FCS land near Loch Long, western Scotland
FCS land near Loch Long, western Scotland

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Under the deal, five areas have been singled out for wind farms "larger than 5MW". E.ON, PNE Wind, ScottishPower and Fred Olsen Renewables have all been handed lots.

Speaking about the deal, E.ON said it believes its two areas could be developed with a capacity of up to 500MW.

Additionally, FCS said local communities would be paid £5000 per MW installed each year, which could be reinvested in future wind projects.

The areas are:

  • Lot 1 - South-west Scotland covering Dumfries & Galloway and Arran - ScottishPower Renewables.
  • Lot 2 - Central Scotland, covering Stirlingshire, Cowal, the Trossachs and Tayside - PNE Wind UK.
  • Lots 3 and 5 - West and North-west Scotland, covering West Argyll, Lochaber, Invernesshire, and the Northern Highlands - E.ON Climate & Renewables UK Developments Ltd.
  • Lot 4 - North-east, covering the Grampian area - Fred Olsen Renewables.

The next stage will be for the developers to present a list of preferred locations for project development.

Scottish environment and climate change minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "National forest land covers nearly a tenth of the country and has great potential for wind energy development.

"All these projects will of course be handled in an environmentally sensitive manner and will need to go through the proper planning processes. Any felling to make way for windfarm developments will be offset by compensatory planting."

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