Buccleuch has been involved in the production of energy since the 15th century – first as a supplier of wood for heat energy and then in 1820 the Duke of Buccleuch established Canonbie Colliery, which worked until 1920.
Now, as energy demands continue to grow and society’s impact on climate becomes a major concern, Buccleuch is developing a diverse range of traditional and new technologies – from biomass and solar to anaerobic digestion and a pumped storage hydro scheme.
Local generation and use
In recent years we have seen a rapid increase in the deployment of renewables, and Buccleuch is keen to adopt new technologies wherever practicable.
More and more we are seeing initiatives to generate and use energy locally, and this makes very good sense especially for our rural estates. At Drumlanrig Castle, for example, we operate a 200kW biomass boiler to provide heat for the house and at Bowhill Estate we have installed a 200kW anaerobic digester which turns muck and straw into green electricity and heat which are used on the farm. We also power our free range egg operation on Bowhill using 50kW of solar panels.
Initiatives such as these bring a dual benefit to Buccleuch – they make good use of the natural by-products of a busy and diverse estate and put them to new uses which are both economically and environmentally sound.
At Queensberry Estate, we are advancing with exciting plans to ensure the former Glenmuckloch opencast coal mine has a future beyond coal. Already we have supported the establishment of the Glenmuckloch Community Energy Park – a wholly community-owned initiative which operates two turbines in the site – and are now actively pursuing plans to develop a wind farm and a pumped storage hydro plant at the former mine.
Wind and hydro
The Glenmuckloch wind farm has received planning consent to build eight 3.2 MW turbines adjacent to the opencast site. Once operational, the turbines will generate enough clean energy to power around 16,000 homes and have the potential to work alongside another proposal to build a pumped storage hydro scheme at the opencast site.
The pumped storage scheme is being developed by Buccleuch and 2020 Renewables and has recently received full planning consent from the Scottish Government. Once operational it would be capable of generating up to 400MW of electricity in times of peak demand. Pumped storage developments help in securing electricity supplies by balancing fluctuating electricity demand with intermittency of some types of generation and works by releasing water from a higher waterbody to a lower one and passing it through a turbine to generate electricity. Water is then pumped back up the hill and stored in the upper reservoir until further electricity is required.
Finally, we are looking at the potential of major wind farm proposals at Hopsrig on the Eskdale and Liddesdale Estate and in the North Lowther Hills on the Queensberry Estate. Both schemes are still in development, and taking on board local views is an important part of the planning process. For each proposal we are engaging closely with the local community, nearby landowners, the local council and relevant statutory and non-statutory bodies.
Energy plays an important role in the future of Buccleuch and we will continue to explore new opportunities to generate power and economic opportunities across all of our businesses in the years ahead.