A WIND farm project near Loch Doon has been given a financial boost after securing a contract award that will guarantee long-term revenue for the scheme.

The owners of the Benbrack wind farm announced on Friday that they have secured a ‘contract for difference’ (CFD) award for 31.1 megawatts of capacity.

This means that a stable income is guaranteed for more than half of the wind farm’s annual power generation.

The contract is in place for 15 years.

Red Rock Power, which owns the project, is a subsidiary of the Chinese SDIC Power Holdings Company Ltd, based in Beijing.

Construction work at the site – located in Dumfries and Galloway, but just across the border from East Ayrshire – began in October last year, a decade after the project was first proposed, and the first pouring of concrete on to one of the turbine foundations took place in July.

Red Rock Power says contractor Jones Bros is on track to complete civil works at the site by the end of this year, in preparation for the first turbine being installed in the spring of 2024.

David Fielding, the project’s director, said: “Securing a CfD is a crucial key milestone for the Benbrack Wind Farm project.

“Fixing part of the generation income is key in reducing financial risk to the project, and demonstrates the team’s commitment to delivering a successful project over the last two years.”  

Red Rock Power, based in Edinburgh, acquired the Benbrack project in February 2021.

The project was first proposed in 2012 and secured planning consent in 2017.

That consent has since been varied to allow a maximum of 18 turbines on the site, with a potential generating capacity of around 72 megawatts, though Red Rock says the detailed design – including the height, number and exact location of the turbines – has yet to be confirmed.

The company says that once the wind farm is complete it will power around 70,000 homes.

Red Rock owns three other wind farm projects in the UK, including the already-operational Afton site, with 25 turbines, south of New Cumnock; its other UK projects are located offshore, its other projects are located offshore, off the coasts of Angus and Caithness.

Two other wind farm projects in the area also secured 'contract for difference' awards on Friday - Enoch Hill and the Greenburn Wind Park, to the south-west and west of New Cumnock respectively.

Benbrack will be the latest addition to the fast-spreading network of wind farms around the border area of East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.

It’s already home to the 50-turbine South Kyle development, while work is also under way on a 49-turbine development at nearby North Kyle.

The Sanquhar I wind farm south-west of Sanquhar has been in operation since 2018, but just last week the Scottish Government gave the green light to the much larger Sanquhar II development of 44 turbines.

Plans are also under consideration for a 12-turbine development near Patna, and an eight-turbine development at Rowancraig, west of Sanquhar.

Earlier this year proposals were unveiled to extend the existing wind farm at Enoch Hill, where 15 turbines are already in place.

Permission was granted in 2020 for a development of 22 turbines at Lethans, also near New Cumnock.

The Lethans wind farm has yet to be built, but in April this year, East Ayrshire Council recommended for approval an application by Bank Renewables to extend it by an additional 10 turbines.