Ambitious proposals to generate clean, green council-owned renewable energy at a key strategic North Ayrshire Council site have been revealed.
The plans – expected to be approved by Cabinet on Tuesday – are for three wind turbines and a solar farm to be developed at the i3 Strategic Investment Campus in Irvine.
And if successful, this development and a further two solar farms – at the former Nethermains and Shewalton landfill sites – could potentially generate 277% of the council’s future energy demands.
Not only would it be enough to provide for the Council’s future energy demands but excess energy could potentially be sold to other public anchor institutions across Ayrshire.
North Ayrshire Council are working with the University of Strathclyde on the project. The current plans being developed could include a five mega-watt solar farm and 12 mega-watts of wind power from three turbines. Following Cabinet approval, the proposals will be further developed into full business case stage.
The Council is currently pushing ahead with a range of initiatives in their drive to reach net-zero by 2030.
Two solar PV farms at the Council’s former landfill sites at Nethermains and Shewalton are already being developed. These two projects and the additional i3 project could meet the Council’s entire power generation and make them a net exporter of excess renewable energy to help decarbonise the electricity grid.
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: “North Ayrshire Council’s investment in council-owned renewable energy is truly groundbreaking.
“Combined with our two previously approved council-owned solar farms, the potential for three wind turbines and a further solar farm at i3 could see the Council generate almost three times our future energy needs through council-owned renewable energy – making North Ayrshire Council a net exporter of excess renewable energy.
“We are Scotland’s first Community Wealth Building Council and our ambitious investment in renewable energy is Community Wealth Building in action. Publicly owned renewable energy, locking in the benefits of the investments for our communities and delivering on our commitment to share wealth and resources with them.
“Not only will our renewable energy projects cut carbon emissions and help us towards our ambitions to be net-zero by 2030, but they will bring tens of millions of pounds in income to the Council, income that will be reinvested in North Ayrshire with 15% available to local groups through our community benefit policy.
“We are ambitious for North Ayrshire and these projects have the potential to be transformational for the Council and our communities.”
The i3 Irvine Enterprise Area is one of North Ayrshire’s key strategic sites where £21m investment is being targeted as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal. Two major projects are being developed on this site to create employment and attract new inward investment:
- Construction of new advanced manufacturing business space (or flexible space)
- Development of a Digital Processing Manufacturing Centre (DPMC)