PLANS for wind turbines and a solar farm at an Irvine development site could help North Ayrshire Council (NAC) towards generating almost three times its future energy needs.

Council leader Joe Cullinane branded the proposals - expected to be approved by Cabinet next week - "groundbreaking" and "transformational" as NAC bids to become a net-zero local authority by 2030.

If successful, the development at the i3 Strategic Investment Campus would join two other solar photovoltaic (PV) farms at the former landfill sites at Nethermains and Shewalton which have already been approved.

According to the council, the three projects could potentially generate 277 per cent of the authority's future energy demands, making NAC a net exporter of excess renewable energy to help decarbonise the electricity grid.

Excess energy could then potentially be sold to other public anchor institutions across the wider Ayrshire region.

NAC is working with the University of Strathclyde on the i3 project, with current plans including a five mega-watt solar farm and 12 mega-watts of wind power from three turbines

Cllr Cullinane said: “North Ayrshire Council’s investment in council-owned renewable energy is truly groundbreaking.

“Combined with our two previously approved council-owned solar farms, the potential for three wind turbines and a further solar farm at i3 could see the council generate almost three times our future energy needs through council-owned renewable energy – making North Ayrshire Council a net exporter of excess renewable energy.

“We are Scotland’s first community wealth building council and our ambitious investment in renewable energy is community wealth building in action.

"Publicly-owned renewable energy, locking in the benefits of the investments for our communities and delivering on our commitment to share wealth and resources with them.

“Not only will our renewable energy projects cut carbon emissions and help us towards our ambitions to be net-zero by 2030, but they will bring tens of millions of pounds in income to the council, income that will be reinvested in North Ayrshire with 15 per cent available to local groups through our community benefit policy.

“We are ambitious for North Ayrshire and these projects have the potential to be transformational for the council and our communities.”

The i3 Irvine enterprise area is one of North Ayrshire’s key strategic sites where £21m investment is being targeted as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal.