The University of St Andrews is seeking a development partner to progress its plans for a 12 megawatt windfarm at Kenly, three miles south-east of St Andrews. The University plans to construct a six-turbine wind cluster, saving 19,000 tonnes of carbon per year and helping towards its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral university.
A development partner is being sought to carry out the tasks of: designing the windfarm, planning the grid connections, and constructing the six turbines.
The construction phase will bring an estimated economic boost of £22 million to the local and national economy. A key role of the appointed contractor will be to maximise the local share of this economic boom, and the significant knock-on benefits in terms of employment and trade.
Market interest is now being explored from those capable of delivering an operational project by 2016, with the expectation that the turbines will start turning by 2017.
Derek Watson, Quaestor and Factor, said:
“With consent already granted, this project represents a fantastic opportunity for a contractor to play a role in delivering economic, environmental and community benefits to Fife.
“We are keen to see development at Kenly progress as quickly as possible, to minimise local disruption and maximise the benefits.”
The Kenly Wind Farm is a vital component of the University’s strategy to offset the rapidly rising and punitive national costs of energy.
Although St Andrews has reduced and managed its energy consumption in recent years, rising national and international costs of energy have seen its bills triple since 2005 to £5.4 million a year. This increase in costs is equivalent to the salaries of up to 120 full-time staff at St Andrews.
Although the design work will be undertaken by the appointed developer and technical issues associated with the grid connection have yet to be resolved; the University’s clear preference remains for power generated at Kenly to be transported direct to St Andrews, where it can be connected to the university’s high voltage network at the North Haugh and used to power world-leading research. This is likely to involve laying a combination of underground and over-ground cables between Autumn 2015 and mid-2016.
Once the windfarm is operational, local people will be able to share in the benefits of clean energy: with excess supply sold into the national grid and a proportion going into a community trust to benefit the local area.
The University will hold discussions with community representatives about detailed plans for a community benefits package later this year.