AN initiative prioritising local communities and businesses is on its way to delivering a boost of more than £100 million to the economy of South Lanarkshire.

Banks Renewables launched Connect2Renewables (C2R) in 2014 with the support of local communities and South Lanarkshire Council, aiming to maximise the social and economic benefits of the company’s wind farm developments in the area.

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Construction of the 88MW Kype Muir Wind Farm, south of Strathaven, is well under way, and it is now estimated the project will be worth more than £101m to the local economy. Firms based within 30km (18 miles) of the development have seen almost £20m of contracts come their way, including Drumclog Plant Hire, Hillhouse Quarry Ltd and KT Montgomery.

Banks Renewables development director Colin Anderson said: “We’re very proud to know that the work we carry out will have long lasting and significant benefits for the local area.

“A key part of Connect2Renewables is to ensure we use as many local contractors as possible, as we know this has a hugely positive knock-on effect for the local economy and the people living and working there.

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“The construction of Kype Muir Wind Farm will positively contribute to the area for a generation, with local community groups, shops, businesses and individuals seeing tangible benefits.”

As well as its C2R commitments, Banks will work with South Lanarkshire Council and local communities to maximise the benefits delivered by the £11.5m of direct community funding flowing from the project.

Kype Muir Wind Farm will also contribute nearly £30m in business rates over its lifetime that will support the council providing high-quality services to its communities.

“Connect2Renewables is a ground-breaking initiative that is all about giving local people opportunities that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Anderson.

“It also shows that as we increase the amount of clean, renewable energy in our country to address the climate change imperatives, that we can do it in a way that has very clear social and economic upsides for our communities and businesses.”

Construction works, including the erection of turbines, and connecting the wind farm to the National Grid, are programmed to be completed by early 2019.

Meanwhile, an offshore wind farm which will have the world’s most powerful turbines has been connected to the National Grid.

The Vattenfall European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay, which started early last year, is expected to produce enough energy to power 78,529 homes once it is complete.

The 11-turbine development had faced delays including legal challenges from Donald Trump over the views from his golf course at Balmedie.

It will trial next generation technology, and is expected to produce electricity by summer.