Communities voice concerns over gas engines proposal for Markinch

Markinch Biomass Plant.
Markinch Biomass Plant.

Communities have voiced their concerns and anger at plans to site 10 gas engines at Markinch Biomass Plant.

RWE has faced a backlash from residents in Markinch and north Glenrothes after it submitted the plans for the reserve generation peaker plant site.

The engines would be used to provide power for the National Grid when needed.

But residents have voiced their objections to the proposals, citing concerns over the impact the engines will have on air quality and noise, as well as complaining about the planning process itself.

Dozens of residents in Markinch attended a heated meeting at the Lodge Balgonie this week, firing questions and comments at representatives from RWE.

While residents understood the need for such a facility, they questioned the choice of location.

One said: “There is no need for it to be built in the middle of Glenrothes.”

The main concern regarded the possible noise levels.

One resident said: “The residents of the three areas are suffering from it.”

Another added: “The noise has affected my health. This is a serious issue for me.”

“A lot of people are not sleeping because the noise is 24.7 – you want to add to that,” another resident said.

One concern was about how often the engines would be used, with a resident claiming it was “unrealistic” that they would be used under 500 hours per year.

However, Mark Picton from RWE, promised the audience “these engines will run no longer than 500 hours”.

Towards the end of the meeting, many residents called on councillors to rejected the proposals.

“We need the council to look out for us,” said one.

A number of objections have already been made to the plans. North Glenrothes Community Council has objected to the proposal on the grounds that “no evidence is provided on how 10 x 2MW generators will permanently reduce to below 20MW”.

RWE originally submitted plans for the 10 gas engines in May, which would have had an electrical export capacity of 20MW. However, it withdrew this application, as it hoped to meet the pre-qualification bidding period for contracts, and 20MW would have meant having to set up a public consultation. It then submitted the new plans for the 10 gas engines, however, this time the electrical export capacity is of 19.9MW, avoiding the need for a consultation.

Comments can be made on the application until August 7.