An Orkney company is to help community groups across the islands create the biggest wind energy project of its kind in the world.
Stromness-based Scotrenewables (Wind Power) Ltd will assist the eight groups develop income-generating commercial wind turbine projects that will feed revenue back into their communities.
The company has been awarded a contract by HICEC, the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company, to advise each of the communities on environmental considerations as they put together planning applications for their projects.
Communities in Stronsay, South Ronaldsay, Eday, Rousay, Hoy, Sanday, Shapinsay and Stromness are developing plans to put up individual wind turbines
Each would have an output of around 900kw and be similar in size to the wind turbine already generating power in Burray.
Earlier feasibility work helped identify suitable sites in each of the communities, with additional bird studies carried out over the summer.
Scotrenewables will offer the community groups expertise gained on wind energy projects in Scotland and as far away as Chile.
Barry Johnston, who owns the company, said: “I’m delighted with the award of this contract. “It represents over six years of campaigning by myself and others for Orkney’s wind energy resource to be used for the benefit of local people.
“This will collectively be the largest genuinely 100 per cent community owned wind energy project in the world.
“It shows great vision on behalf of Highlands and Island Enterprise – the funders of HICEC – and the local community groups that we are now at this stage.”
In addition to company staff, Scotrenewables has have assembled a team of local experts to provide further expertise.
“We are working in partnership with landscape architect Jenny Taylor and renewable energy adviser Colin Risbridger,” said Mr Johnston.
“Using local knowledge will ensure the best possible standard of work is achieved – and that the benefit from this contract also remains in Orkney.
“I hope Orcadians will embrace this unique concept and appreciate that the use of Orkney’s natural wind resource for the benefit of the local community, at a acceptable scale such as this, is an appropriate way forward.”
Orkney’s HICEC representative, Sam Harcus, added: “It is great to see a local consortium working with the community groups to take these exciting projects forward.
“We are working hard to make our communities more self sustaining and the intension is to submit the full Environmental Impact Assessments and planning applications early next year.
“Each of the projects have an offer of a connection to the electricity grid under the proposed Active Management Scheme but require planning permission as soon as possible to secure it.”
Last year, the electricity regulator, OFGEM, approved the creation of an Active Management Scheme in Orkney.
This allows a more flexible management of the grid by Scottish Hydro-Electric Power Distribution Ltd – and potentially creates extra generating capacity for new renewables projects.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding