Orkney Islands Council has signed an agreement with Hoy Energy Ltd which will ensure that the island’s income from the existing community turbine won’t be adversely affected by the potential development of a council-owned wind farm in Hoy.
A planning application is due to submitted later this month for Orkney’s Community Wind farm – Hoy, a six-turbine Council-led development at Wee Fea in Lyness.
With the existing community turbine situated in fairly close proximity to the site, an agreement has been reached with Hoy Energy Ltd - the operators of the turbine - to carry out an independent study into the potential for a ‘wake effect’ from the proposed new turbines on the existing 900 kW turbine.
A ‘wake effect’ could see the proposed new wind turbines disturb the flow of wind to the existing turbine in certain wind conditions, thereby reducing the energy produced at that time.
Whilst initial analysis suggests that this is unlikely, the Council has committed that, should the independent analysis find that there is a potential effect, then Hoy Energy Ltd – and in turn the local community – will be compensated for any lost revenue.
Hoy Energy Ltd is the commercial arm of the Island of Hoy Development Trust (IoHDT). The Trust was formed in 2007 to enhance social, educational, economic and environmental aspects of the island. The community owned turbine provides a long-term income stream to support the Trust and its work.
The proposed development on Hoy is part of ‘Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project’.
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.