St Andrews University is seeking a development partner to progress its plans for a six-turbine windfarm at Kenly.
The 12 megawatt windfarm at a site three miles south-east of St Andrews could save 19,000 tonnes of carbon per year and would help towards the university’s goal of becoming the world’s first carbon neutral university.
The development partner will be responsible for 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, the university’s 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 Windfarm is a key component of the university’s strategy to offset the rapidly rising costs of energy.
Despite efforts toreduce and manage its energy consumption in recent years, rising costs 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 technical issues associated with the grid connection have yet to be resolved, the university’s clear preference is 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.
This is likely to involve laying a combination of underground and over-ground cables between Autumn 2015 and mid-2016.
Plans for the windfarm at Kenly attracted considerable opposition from local people, and were refused by Fife councillors in October 2012.
However, an appeal against that decision proved successful and the university was granted planning permission in October last year.
The university said that once the windfarm was operational, local people would be able to share in the benefits of clean energy, with excess supply sold into the national grid and a proportion of the profits going into a community trust to benefit the local area.
The university intends holding discussions with community representatives about detailed plans for a community benefits package later this year.