Grayside Wind Farm is approximately 1.7 km south of the village of Lamington and 5.7 km north east of Abington in South Lanarkshire. It is approximately 2,461 hectares (ha), and is split between two developable areas of land each centred on National Grid References (NGRs) 299800, 628300 and 305000, 627500.
Design and environmental survey works are currently underway to establish the existing environmental conditions on the Site and to inform the development design. Surveys undertaken to date include landscape and visuals, ground conditions, surface and ground water hydrology, terrestrial ecology (including surveys for Otter, Badger, Water Vole, Pine Martin, Red Squirrel, Bats and Fish) and one year of ornithology surveys.
At this stage the proposed design comprises 27 turbines each with a maximum tip height of up to 200 m and a total output capacity in excess of 50 MW for the turbine type currently being considered.
Ancillary infrastructure will also be required as part of the proposal and will likely include a substation, external turbine transformers, new access tracks and site entrance, temporary construction compound, crane hardstandings and a permanent meteorological mast as well as the option for an energy storage facility. The connection to the National Grid is not covered within this consenting process and will be subject to a separate consent application.
This will be a productive wind farm due to the exceptional wind resource on site, highlighted by the number of other wind farm developments in the surrounding area, and capable of producing clean, green, renewable electricity and making a valuable contribution to Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy targets. The extensive environmental surveys and design work undertaken to date have shown the potential for the Site to host an onshore wind development of this scale. It is acknowledged that both the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and design processes are iterative in nature and that the current layout of the proposal is likely to evolve during these.
The resultant proposal will balance the environmental and technical constraints, whilst still producing an economically viable project.
In 2019 the UK Government committed to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050; The UK has already reduced emissions by 42% mainly through an increase in the development and use of renewables. Whilst the UK Government has announced a capacity target for offshore wind of 40 GW, that alone will not be sufficient to meet increased demand for electricity as we move to a low carbon economy. The Climate Change Committee has recommended that further onshore wind capacity will also be needed; and the UK Government has recognised the importance of change and must now work to deliver plans to achieve the targets mentioned above.
The Scottish Government has declared a climate emergency and passed the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 which commits Scotland to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2045. In 2017, prior to the 2019 Act, the Scottish Government published its Energy Strategy which sets out the targets of achieving the “equivalent of 50 % of the energy for Scotland’s heat, transport and electricity consumption to be supplied from renewable sources” by 2030. In order to achieve this, approximately 17 GW of installed capacity will be required throughout Scotland; onshore wind will be a key factor in achieving these goals.
In November 2020, the Scottish Government released a Position Statement on National Planning Framework 4. The Position Statement states that the key focus for Scotland is to achieve zero net emissions, a wellbeing economy, resilient communities and better, greener places. In order to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 and to meet the emission reduction targets of 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040, there must be a radical transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, specifically in relation to infrastructure, heating methods and electricity supply.
Grayside Wind Farm would contribute to local and national targets by adding in excess of 50 MW of onshore wind capacity over its 30-year operation, and producing low carbon electricity.
The wind farm layout will continue to be informed by further environmental surveys, as well as technical input from geotechnical and wind engineers. This multi-discipline approach has produced a design which balances the optimisation of energy output and minimises impacts on the environment.
Key drivers to the design process will be: