LOCALS will be able to have their say on plans to increase the power of a gas-fired peaking plant in Inverkeithing.

The electricity generating facility at Belleknowes Industrial Estate got the go-ahead in January 2020 but now Forsa Energy, of Greenock, want to up the output from 19.9 megawatts (MW) to 20.7MW.

They've already tweaked their plans, gaining permission last December to extend the lifetime of the gas plant from 20 to 25 years, but the latest change requires a public consultation before it can go ahead.

A planning agent explained: "These facilities, which are being rolled out throughout the country, ensure security of supply of electricity when there is a shortage in the national grid.

Dunfermline Press: The gas-fired peaking plant will be built at Belleknowes Industrial Estate in Inverkeithing.The gas-fired peaking plant will be built at Belleknowes Industrial Estate in Inverkeithing. (Image: Newsquest)

"For example when there is a shortage of wind and the turbines do not provide enough electricity to the national grid then such electricity generating facilities ‘kick-in’ and provide security of supply, when necessary.

"There will be no change to the design or detail of the application granted planning permission on December 23, 2022.

"The increase in energy export is achieved through greater efficiency of the engines and consequently there is no difference to air quality or noise.

"Planning legislation requires that any such facility which exports more than 20MW is to be treated as a major application and therefore be subject to a public consultation procedure."

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The power plant, contained within a rectangular shaped site around half a hectare in size, will have six-metre high security columns in each corner as well as a substation, welfare building, LV kiosk, transformer, gas kiosk and three car parking spaces.

Forsa have submitted a proposal of application notice to Fife Council which gives them 12 weeks to consult before they can submit a full planning application.

Two public meetings will be held in the Inverkeithing Civic Centre next month, with dates to be agreed.

It's more than three years since planning permission was granted for a gas-peaking plant to be built on the Black Shed site on the industrial estate.

At the time there were concerns that the power plant would have an adverse impact on air quality and the Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Mark Ruskell, slammed the decision as "very disappointing".

He had added: "Building new fossil fuel plants is a huge step backwards when parts of the world are literally on fire."

Similar plans for a gas plant along the road at Hillend, off Clockluine Road, were refused in April 2019 and again on appeal in January 2020.

Local residents, supported by environmental groups, successfully argued that a 10-stack gas peaking plant built just 250 metres from their homes was incompatible with the council’s climate emergency declaration from 2019.