A PLANNING bid has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council to extend the lifespan of a “still commercially viable” windfarm near Innerleithen.

The application, prepared and submitted by RWE Renewables UK Operations Ltd, is to allow for Bowbeat Wind Farm at Bowbeat Hill to remain operational for an additional five years, until August 2030.

Bowbeat, on the Moorfoot Hills, is one of Scotland’s most powerful windfarms.

Planning approval, for 25 years, was granted in 2000, with construction taking a year to complete.

Access to the site was made up of several kilometres of reinforced forest track to help the construction vehicles and cranes up the site’s steep slopes.

It was officially opened by former energy minister Brian Wilson in 2003.

In 2015 the wind farm was generating enough energy to supply almost 16,000 homes

Original approval was for the development and operation of a windfarm comprising of 24 turbines with a blade tip height of 76m and a hub height of 46m, with a generating capacity of 31.2 megawatts.

A report with the application states: “In respect, Bowbeat Wind Farm has been operational for 20 years without any recorded incidents relating to major accidents and disaster, and human health impacts.

“Bowbeat Wind Farm would continue to be managed in accordance with RWE site management protocols, significantly reducing the risk of accidents. Site protocols and management plans will be updated in accordance with the relevant legislation, as required, and would remain in place through the extended operational life of Bowbeat Wind Farm.”