The Scottish Government has called in the ‘Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project – Quanterness’ planning application for determination.
Scottish Ministers will now be responsible for making the final decision on whether or not to grant planning permission for the project.
This follows the Council writing to the Scottish Government to request that they consider calling in the application- principally based on the potential national significance of the project.
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.
The planning application is for a six-turbine wind farm development at Quanterness outside Kirkwall and is one part of Orkney's Community Wind Farm Project, which could also see council-owned wind farm developments in Hoy and on Faray.
Planning applications for the Hoy and Faray projects are likely to follow later in the year, as there are additional survey requirements for these sites. Public consultation will be carried out to present the latest plans and gather public views.
The Council will also request that Scottish Ministers call in planning applications for these projects.
Further information on the project is available here www.orkney.gov.uk/Council/C/orkneys-community-wind-farm-project.htm, on the Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Facebook page and on the project blog.