Following a pre-application consultation we submitted a planning application in February 2020 for the proposed Quanterness wind farm development.
A consultation period was carried out by the local planning authority during which people could submit their views on the application.
The Scottish Government subsequently called in the application on the grounds of national importance (following a request from the council) and are now responsible for making the final decision on whether or not to grant planning permission for the project - with the Council now a consultee in the process, rather than being the planning authority.
The project is considered to be of national significance because of the potential for a direct influence on a new subsea interconnector between Orkney and the Scottish Mainland which has been identified in the National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) as a National Development.
A new interconnector would make a significant contribution in meeting national net-zero carbon emissions targets and would follow on from the Scottish Government and local authorities across Scotland (including Orkney Islands Council) declaring a Climate Emergency.
In September 2019, the electricity market regulator, Ofgem, published its final decision on the needs case for the new interconnector, setting out that planning permission for 135MW of new generation was required and that this would require to be signed up to a grid connection agreement, and pass a financial audit before the end of 2021 in order to trigger the interconnector.
Between 26 August and 25 September 2020, the Scottish Government carried out a further 30 day consultation on the project, on additional information that had been submitted regarding the application. The submission of additional information is standard practice where comments have been received during a previous consultation period.
The council now awaits further information from the DPEA on the next steps for the application. We expect to know this in early 2021.
Full documentation for the proposal, including additional information on the project supplied to the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) by the Council, has been published on the DPEA website. On accessing the website, enter the case reference CIN-ORK-001 in the ‘Search by case reference:’ box to find all documents relating to this case.