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Whitelee Solar PV, Green Hydrogen and BESS Development - Site Overview, Key Facts and Development Process

The site boundary is shown below:

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The site boundary of the Development is located immediately adjacent to Whitelee Windfarm and Extension, within the administrative area of East Ayrshire Council.

The site is located approximately c. 6.8km (4.25 miles) from the nearest settlements of Eaglesham (East Renfrewshire, to north east), c. 7.4km (4.6 miles) from Fenwick (East Ayrshire, to south west), c. 5.8km (3.6 miles) from Waterside (East Ayrshire, to south west) and c. 8km (5 miles) from Moscow (East Ayrshire, to south).

The site is located within a highly accessible area adjacent to the B764 which is located to the north of the Development boundary with access to the strategic motorway network from the M77 within close proximity to the west.

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Work Undertaken to Date

 SPR already had a good understanding of the site due to the wealth of data gathered through previous developments, ranging from feasibility assessments to a programme of ecological, engineering and landscape surveys, however further surveys have been undertaken this year, to update our records and cover any gaps in data.

The identification of environmental and physical constraints is particularly important at the start of any project as this helps to define a potentially developable area for project infrastructure. 

We are now beginning the process of assessing the findings from surveys completed to date.  This information, and comments from the online information event, will help to further refine the design if required.

In October 2020, SPR submitted a formal request for an EIA Screening Opinion under Regulation 8 of the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017.  The purpose of this request is to ascertain whether or not a project will require to be supported by an Environmental Impact Assessment.  At present, it is not anticipated that an Environmental Impact Assessment will be required to support this project and you can find further information on the various environmental considerations throughout this exhibition. A copy of the request for a screening opinion made to the Energy Consents Unit can be viewed here.

Key Project Details

c. 65,000 solar PV panels; each with a maximum height of 3m, providing a total generating capacity of 20-30 megawatts.
A green hydrogen production facility capable of producing up to 10 tonnes of green hydrogen per day.
A battery storage (BESS) facility with a capacity of c. 50 megawatts, up to 2 hours duration (100MWhrs)

Green Hydrogen Production and Storage Facility

The Green Hydrogen Production and Storage Facility is proposed within the site, embedded within the solar PV scheme and shares a platform (of stone construction) with the substation building for the solar PV scheme. It is proposed that the green hydrogen production facility element will be accessed via the solar PV scheme’s newly proposed access tracks, during construction and operational access, for collection of hydrogen.  This area of the site extends to approximately 1.7 hectares, based on a present site area of c. 130m x 130m.  At present, the layout of the green hydrogen production facility has yet to be finalised, however based on its initial layout the facility would consist of multiple buildings, pressure vessels, pumps / compressors and storage tanks, all interconnected by a network of pipework and cabling.

The green hydrogen production facility operates based on Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Electrolysis technology with a predicted capacity for supply of up to 10,000kg of green hydrogen per day based on a 20MW initial power demand.  The anticipated water demand for the facility is up to c. 120,000 litres per day and is anticipated to be supplied by mains water supply.

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Please note this is an Indicative layout which will be updated prior to full planning submission


Above: Indicative images of the Refhyne project, a 10MW Hydrogen production and storage facility with similar technology, showing what the Green Hydrogen Production and Storage Facility could look like. Images courtesy of ITM Power.


It is anticipated that the solar PV farm will comprise c. 65,000 solar panel arrays each with heights of up to 3m at the frame’s highest point. The scheme will include multiple central inverter stations, site tracks, HV and LV cabling, perimeter fencing, CCTV cameras, new access via the B764 and a substation building (located on the same platform as the Green Hydrogen Production and Storage facility).

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It is proposed to locate the solar PV farm within a section of the site located to north west of the site boundary. This area of the site sits south of Kingswell and Tent Knowe and east of Cauldstanes at Collory Bog and extends to approximately 7.5 hectares.This area of the site offers the benefit of being able to locate the solar PV arrays in such a way whereby they will be integrated into the landscape and due to its topography, it is possible to orientate the panels to the south with minimal regrading of the land or changes to its natural topography. 

In addition, it is anticipated that the cable route will run to/from the Whitelee Windfarm Extension substation and the solar PV and green hydrogen production facility over a span of c. 7.4km.


The BESS utilises established Lithium-Ion battery technology and comprises a single building measuring approximately 70m x 62.5m.

Above: Aerial view of the BESS site currently under construction at Ardochrig, also located on Whitelee Windfarm

It is proposed that the BESS compound would be situated at the location of the former construction compound for the Whitelee Windfarm Extension on a platform which extends to c. 0.8 hectares and would be located within a section of the site to the south of the solar PV and green hydrogen production elements.  This area of land is located at Rough Hill approx. 2km south west of Craigendunton Reservoir.  The site is c. 800m west of the Whitelee Windfarm Extension substation where it will connect via buried HV cables.

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Above: Representative images of the BESS currently under construction at Ardochrig, showing what the BESS site could look like

Site Design Considerations

SPR’s site selection process is designed to identify sites which provide the most financially and technically viable option whilst being the least environmentally impactful.  SPR has selected this site principally as it allows for the best opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to Scotland’s national targets for renewable energy generation and further Whitelee’s position as centre for green energy in Scotland. As noted previously, the Development’s location on the outskirts of Glasgow means it is perfectly situated to support Glasgow City Council, and help deliver clean, green hydrogen, utilising both existing and new renewable assets.

The following factors have led to the selection of this site for the Development:

Acceptable solar resource during peak months
Excellent levels of site accessibility and access from the motorway network
The lack of statutory nature conservation designations on the site
The proximity to potential grid connection points (by utilising the existing Whitelee Extension substation)
Good ability to locate infrastructure well away from local residents
A good landscape fit – by utilising existing commercial forestry to screen views and by locating the scheme within the existing windfarm.
A good opportunity to extend the green energy infrastructure for which the wider Whitelee Windfarm and Extension is associated with and the ability to provide connection to the existing windfarm – increasing operating efficiency.

As a result of this feasibility and design work, key constraints were identified, and a proposed Site layout was identified with respect to these constraints. The site layout in the context of these constraints is shown below:

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Temporary Construction Laydown Areas

It is proposed that three temporary works compounds will be required at construction stage, to serve each of the three components.

 A copy of the request for a screening opinion made to the Energy Consents Unit can be viewed here.

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