A County Durham-based renewable energy specialist has struck a multi-million pound funding deal that will allow it to kick-start construction of a wind farm in Lancashire.
Banks Renewables, part of the Banks Group, has completed the £11.7m agreement with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to finance the construction of a three-turbine wind farm near Heysham. Once it is up and running the scheme is expected to produce enough renewable energy to meet the annual electricity consumption needs of around 4,200 homes.
Cheetham Hill Construction will begin preparatory building work on site in the near future and the turbines are expected to be in place before the end of the year. Connection to the local grid is expected to follow early in 2015.
Legal advice on the funding deal was provided to Banks Renewables by Bond Dickinson LLP and Brodies LLP, with Natural Power Consultants, RPS, TNEI and Prevailing also acting on the company’s behalf. Law firm Watson, Farley and Williams acted for RBS.
Phil Dyke, development director at Banks Renewables, said: “Our long-term ambition is to develop, construct and operate a sizeable portfolio of onshore wind farms across the north of England and Scotland and reaching this agreement with RBS represents the latest step along the way to realising this objective.
“Onshore wind is acknowledged as the cheapest form of renewable energy production, enjoys wide ranging support among the UK population, is reducing the amount of carbon dioxide we emit as a country and is helping to increase the amount of indigenous energy we can produce by renewable means.
“Carefully designed and sensibly-sited onshore wind farms such as Heysham South will be central to producing the energy that we all use over the coming decades.”
RBS said it was pleased to support the Heysham scheme and hailed Banks’ strong track record in onshore wind farm developments.
Andrew Buglass, head of energy, structured finance at RBS, said: “We value highly the relationship developed with Banks Renewables through this transaction and hope this is the first stage of a longer lasting partnership with Banks.”
Between ten and fifty people will be employed on the Heysham South site at any one time during the site preparation and construction phases of the project. A community benefits fund worth at least £250,000 across the 25-year lifespan of the wind farm will be used to finance a tange of community-based and environmental imrprovement projects in the area.
As well as taking the Heysham South scheme forward, Banks Renewables expects to begin preparatory work on the site of the approved five-turbine Hook Moor Wind Farm in West Yorkshire within the next year.
The company currently operates four wind farms, three in Yorkshire and one in Cumbria.