The prospects of the much-publicised Kenly windfarm, which has long been the University’s pioneering green energy project at the centre of its ambitions for carbon neutrality, is now under serious threat.
Whilst the University has planning permission to build the windfarm, which would consist of six two-megawatt wind turbines, it is unable to begin work at the site until the Ministry of Defence and the University have reached a mutually acceptable solution to ensure the turbines do not interfere with the radar systems at RAF Leuchars base.
Furthermore, unless an agreement is reached before the planning permission lapses in March 2020, the Kenly Windfarm will be unable to go ahead and the opportunity to save 19,000 tonnes of carbon annually will be lost.
In response to the lack of action at the site, a University spokesman emphasised that the University was taking all actions possible to try and reach a solution, stating, “Despite numerous repeated and high-level attempts by the University to explore solutions with the MoD, the Ministry has consistently declined to engage and refuses to negotiate to find a way forward, even though technical solutions are available and already in use elsewhere.”
They continue, “We can only speculate as to why the MoD will not engage with us, even though the UK Parliament declared a climate emergency on 1 May this year.”
Nevertheless, the pressure on the University to break the impasse continues to grow, as seen through an online petition by Amnesty International St Andrews which calls for the prompt start of construction of the site. At the time of writing the petition was fast approaching over 1000 signatures.
Furthermore, when presented with the University response to the lack of progress at the site, Adam Polánek, the vice president of Amnesty International St Andrews, raised concerns with the University’s statement, as it failed to specify when attempts were made.
He stated, “It has also come to our attention that a windfarm in Dundee has been built at an equal distance from the Leuchars airfield without the MoD interfering.”
On behalf of Amnesty International St Andrews, he is calling on the University to point out this double-standard and in doing so make a bolder call for the Kenly windfarm. At present, the project remains grid-locked and stuck at a standstill, with construction remaining absent despite plans for the windfarm being approved over six years ago. The coming months will therefore be crucial in determining whether the windfarm is to be successfully built.