MSP to hold public meeting over Inch Cape – Red Rock plan for wind-energy site at Cockenzie power station

Cockenzie power station site and location of electricity substation for Inch Cape Red Rock development in red
Cockenzie power station site and location of electricity substation for Inch Cape Red Rock development in red

A Tory MSP has arranged a public meeting in East Lothian following the SNP government’s controversial decision to ‘call in’ a planning application from a subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned company to build a large wind farm substation on the site of the old Cockenzie power station in the region.

The substation plans have been lodged by Inch Cape Offshore Limited, which is owned by Red Rock – a subsidiary of China’s State Development and Investment Corporation – critics of the plan pointed out that the announcement of the decision to call in the application came as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was in China to promote business links.

Sturgeon and Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse also formally opened the Chinese giant corporation’s new office in Edinburgh recently.

If approved, the proposed new substation would bring electricity ashore from Inch Cape’s planned wind farm off the east coast of Angus. This development was stalled for years before the British supreme court last year upheld a decision by the Scot-Govt against an appeal by the RSPB in favour of a similar such development by another overseas developer.

That developer – Ireland’s Mainstream Power – is now set for a huge financial windfall without building a single turbine  as it plans to cashes on on the increased value of the site now that it has planning permission along with a life-time state-guarantee – paid by Scottish taxpayers  in the form of a renewable subsidy – to a rival developer.

Official Scot-Govt (planning) policy provides for a presumption in favour of granting wind farm applications at both local and national government level.

But the Inch Cape/ Red Rock plan has been dismissed as a “giant shed” by Prestonpans Community Council as it will be controlled remotely and not provide local employment. Instead, the community council wants to instead see a cruise port created at the site.

Now in reaction to the decision, Michelle Ballantyne, Tory MSP for Southern Scotland, has arranged a public meeting to discuss the plans.

This will be held in nearby Prestonpans toon hall later this week. She said: “Every one is welcome to come along and voice their opinions on the plans and the future of the site.”

24 Apr 2018

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