Blairadam Wind Energy Project

Partnerships for Renewables is working with the Forestry Commission in Scotland to explore the potential for siting wind turbines in the Blairadam Forest.

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Development process

The development process consists of several stages:

Identify sites

As soon as we start working with a public sector partner we ask them to identify possible sites for development. The number of potential sites nominated can range from one site into hundreds. While the vast majority of sites are found to be inappropriate at this preliminary stage, having a substantial number of options to start off with enables us to only select appropriate sites.

Screen sites

At the beginning of the development process we screen sites using desk-based assessments. Here we look into issues such as the proximity of housing and environmentally-designated areas. Many sites will be found to be inappropriate for development at this stage and are thereby eliminated from the development process.

Feasibility studies

We conduct feasibility studies on all sites that pass the initial screening process. These feasibility studies include detailed desk-based assessments on issues ranging from radar, archaeology and wildlife, to telecommunications, hydrology and site access.

Site development – environmental and technical assessments

If a site is successful in making it through the screening and feasibility processes, it will enter the project development phase. It is at this stage that a lease option is signed and we start detailed environmental analysis of the area, including detailed studies on wildlife and ecology. If this work uncovers any major environmental or technical issues, we halt all development of the site. If the results of the detailed work are positive we submit a planning application.

Consent

In gaining planning consent, a period of time is needed to discharge planning conditions before construction can begin. These may include conditions relating to noise, ecology, aviation and so on.

Construction preparation takes place. Partnerships for Renewables has a local content policy and aims to use local suppliers and services wherever possible during the construction and operational phases of projects.

Construction

Construction can take between 4 months for a single turbine to 2 years for larger sites consisting of 20 or more turbines. Timescales will depend on issues such as bird breeding times and other constraints identified during the detailed technical and environmental study work.

Operation

Once a site is operational, its generating activity is supervised remotely. Occasional site visits are required for maintenance and repair.