Through ‘Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project’ the Council’s Strategic Projects team is investigating three sites for potential community wind farms in the county – in Hoy, Faray in the North Isles, and at Quanterness in St Ola.
If the proposals and sites are found through the planning process to be appropriate and the project goes forward, it could generate significant income and community benefit for Orkney. All profit would stay in the islands, enabling the Council to preserve and enhance key services that local people value and depend upon and providing a foundation for communities to drive transformational projects of their own.
The developments will also allow the Council to join other local developers in making a meaningful contribution to a Needs Case for a new interconnector for Orkney, thereby substantially supporting the vital renewable energy industry in Orkney. The wider economic development value of a new cable to Orkney could be highly significant, particularly if a substantial proportion of local ownership can be secured - which will help employment and income remain in the county.
The proposed Quanterness site has the potential capacity for six 149.9m blade tip height turbines.
The site on Faray has enough space for up to eight 149.9m blade tip height turbines.
The site in Hoy has enough space for up to seven 149.9m blade tip height turbines.
The proposals for each site are expected to evolve as further site investigation work and consultation is undertaken. Site investigations, including bird and telecommunications studies, will be ongoing at all three sites.
The intention is for the Council to reach planning permission stage by the end of 2020 ensuring all views and issues are fully explored and considered before any final decisions are made. Proposals for how the applications will be determined are currently being considered.
All three developments are substantial, and the turbines are of a height not used in Orkney before (almost 150m to blade tip). The projects therefore present a number of challenges – not least the visual impact - and these must be weighed against the potential benefits from the project. Individuals will have different opinions on that balance and through the planning process will be given an opportunity to express their support or objections to the development.
These web pages provide full information on the project, the latest updates and details on how you can make you views known throughout the process.
If you have any queries please contact Kirsty Groundwater, Project Officer (Communication and Engagement) by email or phone 01856852272.