FIFTEEN Council-owned sites across Fife are being assessed for possible small scale wind turbine developments.
The idea would be to erect one or two turbines on a number of land holdings, which could lead to the Council generating some of its own energy, reducing expenditure and possibly generating new income.
Feasibility studies, costing £730,000, have been approved by the Council’s executive committee, with a business case suggesting such small scale developments could lead to an income in excess of £20m over the next 20 years.
The move has been criticised by the SNP group - but Council leader Alex Rowley said other local authorities across Scotland were already benefitting from similar developments.
SNP councillor Alistair Hunter said: “You really couldn’t make this up. In their manifesto last year Labour promised a moratorium on wind turbine applications and now they want to examine erecting 15 Council-owned wind farms.
“They also promised that there would be a consultation with Fife communities on the future role and location of land based wind turbines and yet the day the consultation begins, they commit to spending £730,000 to examine the erection of 15 Council-owned wind farms.
“They have shown a total disregard not only for their own promises but for the consultation they promised the people of Fife.”
But the Labour leader hit back, and said the SNP had done nothing on this issue during its five years in administration.
He said: “More should have been done to look at these kinds of gains, and the Council itself should be looking at how we can invest in renewable energy and get payback.”
He said there was potential for the Council to generate profits because of the level of subsidies currently available for renewable energy projects, he added: “Any profits would be invested in Council services and in our communities. Other local authorities are already taking the profits and using them to build schools and community facilities.”
Fife Council did seek a moratorium on wind farm developments while it put in place a policy on where wind farms could be located, but this was turned down by the Scottish Government.
However, Cllr Rowley said work was still being done on the policy, and the current consultation was part of that process, he added: “The SNP simply sat back and had no strategic policy in place and no vision. We need to get moving on this.”