Claudia Beamish MSP, Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, visited Dumfries & Galloway College’s Stranraer Campus last Tuesday to learn about the Larbrax Wind Farm Skills Fund - which would contribute towards the establishment of an educational energy centre at the Stranraer Campus.
Ms Beamish visited the College to learn more about the opportunities that the investment would deliver and the benefits that it could bring to Wigtownshire area, should it be consented by Dumfries and Galloway Council.
Members of the team at the College and from PNE were on hand to provide Ms Beamish with a tour of the existing college facilities and demonstrate how the investment from PNE could help the campus to grow and deliver a range of new programmes to benefit the local economy and community. Images from the visit can be found here.
South Scotland MSP Claudia Beamish said: “I was delighted to be able to come along to the Campus and see, first hand, the work which the college is doing to identify opportunities in the renewable energy sector. Getting high skilled jobs in the energy sector is of crucial importance everywhere in Scotland, but particularly in Dumfries and Galloway, where we need to ensure that young people have good career paths into the energy sector. Dumfries and Galloway College and PNE Wind are to be congratulated on their initiative and this represents a positive model for others to follow.
“At the same time, while we need to see development in wind farms, we need to remember the need for there to be a balanced renewable energy mix which incorporates all the various strands as well as energy efficiency to tackle fuel poverty and provide heat and light for our communities.”
PNE is the only wind farm developer in Wigtownshire to have a formal agreement in place with the College to ensure that the wind farm will benefit the wider regional community and economy - over and above the associated community benefit fund.
Gemma Hamilton, Project Manager for PNE WIND UK, commented: “By working with the College to deliver this regional investment we can help provide young people with new opportunities and enhance employment prospects with skill sets that respond to market demand.
“We are delighted that Ms Beamish expressed such a positive interest in our partnership and recognised the unique socio-economic benefits that Larbrax Wind Farm could bring to the local area.”
Carol Turnbull, Principal at Dumfries and Galloway College, commented: “We appreciated the opportunity to welcome Ms Beamish to the College. The visit allowed us to highlight the challenges faced by rural colleges and demonstrate how we are looking at innovative ways to invest and diversify our offering in Stranraer, responding to educational and economical demands.”
Further information regarding the proposed Larbrax Wind Farm and College partnership can be found on the PNE website www.larbraxwindfarm.co.uk.