Methil turbine consultation put to Council again

If approved, the turbines could be even taller than the existing SHI facility, now owned by ORE Catapult
If approved, the turbines could be even taller than the existing SHI facility, now owned by ORE Catapult

Fife Council has once again been asked to comment on a proposed windfarm which would sit just 1.5k from the Methil shore if approved.

The proposal, submitted by Forthwind, a subsiduary of 2-B Energy, is for two wind turbines with an installed capacity of 9MW each.

They would sit at a height of just over 198m, making them even taller than the existing Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) turbine, now owned and managed by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult.

The proposal also includes an on-shore plant related to electricity generation from the turbines, to be located at the Fife Energy Park.

The intial consent consultation was put to the local authority almost a year ago.

Martin McGroarty, Lead Professional (Minerals), Economy, Planning & Employability Services, explained that because the turbines would be located off-shore, the planning permission has to be granted by Marine Scotland, but given the proposed location, Fife Council has been asked to comment on the plans through the planning consulation process.

Despite already submitting comments via the Central Area Planning Committee last October, the plans have once again been put to the council because of additional information put forward on the turbines’ impact on local birdlife.

The council has until May 16 to comment on the additional information, which will then be submitted to help Marine Scotland officers in their planning decision.

A spokesman for the Scottish Government told the Mail that May 16 will mark the end of the consultation process for all of those asked to comment. A decision on the planning application itself however is less clear, with the Scottish Parliamentary elections imminent.

But if approved, it would see Methil play host to three of the world’s largest off-shore wind turbines.

The applicant of this proposal, Forthwind, has previously been granted permission for a turbine off the coast of Methil. But when the necessary funds couldn’t be secured, they worked in partnership with SHI to facilitate the opening of the 7MW off-shore turbine in 2012.

It was hoped that the area would become a hub for consturction of the huge machines. However, that plan was dashed last year when SHI announced it was pulling out of Fife, with ownership of the turbine passing to ORE Catapult in January.