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St Andrews University plans wind farm to cut costs

image captionThe site on Kenly farm is an abandoned World War II base

A university has unveiled plans to build a wind farm to help protect itself against rising energy costs.

The University of St Andrews is seeking planning permission from Fife Council to develop the six turbine wind farm on farmland it owns.

Scotland's oldest university hopes to build the 12MW facility at Kenly Farm near Boarhills.

It said it had already carried out a three-year on-site research process and consultation with local communities.

A spokesman for the university said the wind farm was a "vital component" of its plan to "offset the rapidly rising and punitive national costs of energy".

Despite reducing energy consumption in recent years, the university's bills have trebled since 2005 to £5.4m a year.

"This increase in costs is equivalent to the salaries of up to 120 full-time staff at St Andrews and is a major financial risk for us," said Quaestor and Factor Derek Watson.

"Doing nothing is not an option. We would prefer to determine our own financial fate, than have it determined for us by the vagaries of international energy markets.

"Our consumption is on a flat line but we are being charged more and more for it."

The university hopes the wind farm on Kenly, the site of an abandoned World War II airbase, will meet the needs of the energy-intensive scientific operations at the North Haugh and the rest of the institution's electricity demand.

It has submitted an application for six turbines each capable of generating about two megawatts.

It is also holding discussions with local community councils about the possibility of forming community trusts to manage income from the proposed wind farm.

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