A SCOTTISH council has unveiled ambitious plans to turn a derelict landfill site into a giant solar power farm.
Aberdeen City Council and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) are seeking an initial £500,000 in lottery funding to develop proposals to transform the former landfill site at Ness Farm, near Nigg Bay, into a multimillion pound solar energy complex.
The 120 acre landfill site closed in 2001. In the first phase of the project the council and AREG plan to install enough solar panels at the site to generate one megawatt of electricity, helping to establish the area as a base for research and training for jobs in the solar energy industry.
Councillor Barney Crockett, the leader of the council, said the development would enhance Aberdeen’s position as a “European-leading” energy city. He continued: “People don’t appreciate that the north east of Scotland is quite a good area for harnessing solar energy. I think it is terrific that we can use a site that has been soiled and get new use out of it.
“Aberdeen is already at the forefront for skills in the energy sector and I think this project can provide great opportunities for research and for our young people to learn new skills.”
Yasa Ratnayeke, the council’s senior external-funding officer, stated: “There is a strong element of job creation associated with the project specifically in regards to the training within solar energy industry. Currently the nearest place that training is provided for this trade is Dundee. By having training in the same region this will allow jobs to be created within the trade for the Aberdeen region.
“It is intended a new facility could provide - in conjunction with Robert Gordon University, the University of Aberdeen and Aberdeen College - opportunities to train local young people in the new trades of solar panel installation and maintenance. There will be a link to the new hydrogen technologies which could also provide a significant number of training opportunities to the project and city. Photo voltaic systems at the Nigg site would grow therefore leading to training opportunities associated with several different manufacturers’ equipment being available.”
The city council is seeking funding supprt from the Big Lottery Coastal Communities Fund which is aimed at encouraging the economic development of coastal communities. Council officials expect to hear within the next month whether they have been successful.