Further Environmental Information Submission – March 2020
Consultation Responses to the Proposed Development
Pencloe Wind Energy Limited (PWEL) made a Further Environmental Information (FEI) submission to the Energy Consents Unit (ECU) of the Scottish Government on Wednesday 18th March.
Following receipt of the Variation Application the ECU consulted with technical and non-technical consultees to gather opinion from stakeholders regarding the merits of the proposed development. Some matters have been raised by consultees that requires FEI to address and this submission provides the Applicant’s response to those.
The FEI Submission
The submission contains the following information:
An updated Planning Statement which reviews the latest Scottish Government climate change commitments, the climate emergency and summarises the consultation responses received and what has been done to address the points raised by consultees;
An updated Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment LVIA chapter addressing comments made by East Ayrshire Council and their landscape advisor, including replacement wirelines and new wirelines illustrating a microsited layout to minimise turbine stacking;
An updated Peat Slide Risk Assessment that meets the requirements of the latest Scottish Government guidance (2017). The assessment shows a low risk of peat slide over the site; and
Replacement tables setting out noise limits for noise sensitive receptors as it was identified that some tables in the noise assessment within the EIA Report contained errors.
The complete FEI submission is available under the documents tab of this website.
Following submission of the FEI, the ECU will again consult with statutory consultees and other interested parties and will look to receive responses by Monday the 20th April.
Pencloe Wind Energy Limited (PWEL) lodged an application for s.36 consent with the Scottish Government on 26 February 2015 for 21 turbines with a maximum height of 125 m to blade tip, with an installed capacity of around 69.3 MW. This application was the culmination of over two years survey and environmental assessment work over and around the Pencloe site.
On 21 September 2015, PWEL revised the application by deleting two wind turbines; micrositing another turbine; increasing the size of four on-site borrow pits; proposed an additional borrow pit and realigned the tracks and substation on site to avoid areas of deeper peat. This revised application was for 19 turbines with a capacity of around 62.7MW
East Ayrshire Council objected to the application in October 2016, and because of this a Public Inquiry was held in 2017 with the inquiry sessions taking place within the New Cumnock Community Centre/Town Hall between 25 and 27 September and the final session held on 31 October 2017.
In December 2018 the Ministers issued their decision to grant s.36 consent for 19 turbines of up to 125 m to tip with a total capacity of 62.7 MW.
The below link will take you to the Energy Consents Website where the consented development documents can be viewed using the website search function. The consented development decision letter is also provided at Appendix 1 of the proposed development application letter.
The Variation Application
PWEL now wish to vary the Pencloe Wind Farm project to benefit from advances in turbine size and technology and hence increase the capacity and yield from that which could be achieved from the consented development.
The main design changes proposed are:
The tip height of the proposed turbines would increase from 125 m to up to 149.9 m;
The blade length will increase from around 50 m to up to 67 m; and
Turbines 6 and 15 have been relocated (to previous locations T1 and T2 in the Original 21 Turbine Design).
Amendments have also been made to the proposed track layout within the Application site, to accommodate the turbine changes as listed above.
The changes made to the consented development are summarised in the table below. For a layout of the proposed variation and the consented variation, see the 'Maps' page.
The Application Process
PWEL is making the variation application under Section 36c of the Electricity Act 1989 to seek the consent of the Scottish Ministers to construct and operate a wind-powered electricity generating station and also gain their direction under section 57 (2) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997.
In terms of the proposed variation development, EIA has been undertaken and an EIA Report is submitted in support of the proposed development. The likely significant effects of the proposed development, as set out in the EIA Report, are largely the same as the consented development.
The variation application was submitted to the Energy Consents Unit of the Scottish Government on Friday 21st June, and a copy of the Application letter and the Advertisement template are provided on this website along with the complete set of supporting documents.
Following submission the Energy Consents Unit will consult with statutory consultees and other interested parties and will look to receive responses by the 14th August.
Benefits Proposed v Consented
The benefits of the proposed development when compared with the consented development are important considerations that should inform the decision of Scottish Ministers. As noted above, and within the EIA Report, no additional significant effects are identified for the proposed development as were predicted for the consented development. The main benefits of the proposed development are summarised below:
The increase in energy yield would be in the order of 48 % when compared to the predicted energy yield of the consented development;
The increase in generation capacity would be in the order of 22.8 MW, which is around 36 %, when compared to the capacity of the consented development;
The proposed development with a capacity of 85.5 MW would more fully utilise the grid capacity that is available ( a total of 96 MW is available) compared to the 62.7 MW capacity of the consented development;
The proposed development will require around 20 % less aggregate for construction compared to the consented development;
The area required to be excavated for proposed development infrastructure is around 18 % lower than that which would be required to implement the consented development; and
The carbon payback period of the proposed development will reduce by 0.5 years to 1.5 years when the proposed development is compared to the consented development.
The planning history of Pencloe Wind Farm is illustrated below.