Tenders sought for turbine study

TENDERS are being sent out in a bid to get the wheels turning on possible wind turbines on Hawick’s Common Ground.

The energy sub group of A Greener Hawick have posted the tenders out to various outlets, including the Community Energy Scotland website, looking for someone to conduct a feasibility study into the plans.

The work has taken almost a year to come to fruition, although it is hoped a contract could be awarded in the next couple of months.

Andy Maybury, from A Greener Hawick, said: “We got permission to carry out the feasibility study from the Common Good trustees somewhat begrudgingly although it was clearly spelled out that this was just permission for the study.

“There was to be nothing put on the land, no vehicles driven on the land and there was no permission to go further at this stage.

“We’re just inviting people to come forward telling us why they want to get involved and how much it will cost. Once we get that we will look through them and make a selection.”

The proposals received a mixed response when they were first mooted almost two years ago. At a meeting in the town hall, Dr Lindsay Neil, from Selkirk, revealed that the income to his town from six turbines would be in the region of £1.5million, rising at the end of 11 years to £5.5million and £8million by the end of their 25-year lifespan.

Areas under consideration included Baillie Hill and the top of the Moor.

Mr Maybury said: “If I was putting up a wind turbine then I would want to investigate my own land before looking elsewhere. That also creates a sense of ownership.

“I know some people are dead against them, but others realise they are beautiful things and somewhere you could take visitors to.”

It comes as dairy farmer Jim Shanks, whose family have farmed at Standhill for 50 years, has revealed plans for the first co-operative wind farm in the Borders at Shaw Park, between Stow and Lauder. It is estimated, over a 20-year period, that this would generate between £25million and £35million for the people of Stow, Lauder and Melrose.