THE developer of the Crossdykes windfarm near Langholm has been nominated for a prestigious national award in recognition of its work to engage with the community.
Muirhall energy is one of four shortlisted in the best engagement category of the Scottish Green Energy Awards, attended by more than 1,200 representatives from the UK renewable energy sector each year.
The best engagement category recognises ‘the development of a renewable energy project which goes above and beyond, communicating the benefits of renewable energy and raising the reputation of the sector’.
The nomination highlighted the 50-plus meetings held with the community to date, the appointment of a local liaison officer, the upgrading of the C80a and the industry-leading level of community benefit payments to be made.
The recommendation was supported by a number of quotes from community representatives.
Jason Morin, project manager with Muirhall Energy, said: “We’re delighted to have made the shortlist, knowing the Scottish Green Energy Awards are always incredibly competitive.
“We really value the ongoing engagement with and support of the community, all of which has been central to us being able to take the project forward.
“To have everyone’s efforts recognised by Scottish Renewables and the judging panel is great.
“However, we are keen to continue to build on everything we have delivered so far, including our support of community councils looking at taking a community stake in the project.”
The winners will be announced at the awards in Edinburgh on Thursday, December 5.
The other nominees include Scotland’s largest offshore windfarm and the largest renewable district heating network.
Crossdykes windfarm has already made waves within the country’s energy sector, with the project in the race to be Scotland’s first subsidy-free windfarm when it comes on stream next September.
Nicholas Jennings, chairman of Eskdalemuir community council, said: “Muirhall Energy has been exemplary in engaging with our community and the willingness of its staff to get know the area and the different players in our community organisation has led to a sound mutual understanding. This has been based on honesty and openness.
“I look forward to an ongoing relationship with the company and seeing real benefits from the much-needed investment coming from Muirhall into the community.”
Margaret Sanderson, former chairwoman of Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council, added: “Muirhall has been heavily involved in communicating with the surrounding communities over four years.
“It has explained in great depth what is going to happen with the windfarm and been very pro-active in clarifying any doubts which constituents may have.
“It has gone out of its way to make sure all community groups are kept in the loop during development, far more than the various developers who have previously worked in the area, and is always determined to make sure people aren’t inconvenienced at any stage.”
Robert Dickson, its vice-chairman, said: “The company has kept us up to date on all aspects of the design and construction of Crossdykes.
“We’re happy to be associated with Muirhall and look forward to continuing to work with it.”
Ronnie Tait, Annandale East and Eskdale councillor, said: “The community engagement from scoping to the beginning of the project and meetings with community councils, other organisations and some personal engagement has been very well organised and informative.
“Questions asked were answered with clarity, showing great knowledge of the industry represented.”