Scotland’s forests provide ‘green’ home to 1GW of renewable energy projects

Fergus Ewing, MSP (right) at Harestanes wind farm with John Alexander and Tony Gannon from Scottish Power and
Fergus Ewing, MSP (right) at Harestanes wind farm with John Alexander and Tony Gannon from Scottish Power and Michael Ansell, Forest Enterprise Scotland.

Scotland’s national forest estate now has installed capacity of over 1 GW of renewable energy, generating enough electricity for around 500,000 homes each year. 

The majority of  this capacity is from wind farms, with the remainder from small-scale hydro schemes.

This capacity is contributing to the Scottish Government’s target to supply 100% of Scotland’s electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020. 

Forest Enterprise Scotland – part of the Forestry Commission – receives around £11 million each year from leasing the land for energy projects with the income being reinvested into various forestry programmes. 

Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Affairs Minister, recently visited one such project – at Harestanes windfarm near Dumfries. 

He said: “This generation of clean renewable energy generation is playing an important contribution to our ambitious climate change programme. However, the benefits don’t stop there. 

“Communities across the country, often in remote areas, are currently benefiting from over £2.7 million each year in community payments as a result of these renewable energy projects. This extra money is often welcome in helping communities with local initiatives.” 

Scottish Power’s Harestanes windfarm was officially opened by Ewing in 2014. The 136 MW windfarm generates around 212,000 MWh of electricity each year. Approximately £300,000 of community benefit  is paid each year into a fund for the people of Annandale and Nithsdale. 

The windfarm has also created 11 km of new tracks and paths throughout the forest which the public can use for recreation. Mountain bikers have also benefited with a new 4 km trail being built on the 7stanes route.

Michael Ansell, Head of Estate Development, Forest Enterprise Scotland, added: “Scotland’s national forest estate is ideally placed to help the Scottish Government meet its renewable energy targets and deliver for communities at the same time. 

“We are continuing to support renewable energy with around a further 80 MW under construction through a number of projects. Another 330MW of renewable capacity is awaiting construction and a further 250MW is awaiting the green light through the planning system.”

27 Nov 2017

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