Hoolan Energy plan to submit planning addendums to Orkney Islands Council next week for their Costa Head Wind Farm and Hesta Head Wind Farm proposals to change the turbine layouts for both projects.
A planning addendum is to provide additional information to the planning authority and Hoolan Energy will submit further ornithology information following bird surveys at both sites, which were carried out in 2017.
The new layouts are to reduce ornithological effects as much as possible within the constraints posed by other technical and environmental considerations, say the company.
For the proposed Costa Head Wind Farm, the addendum includes an updated Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) relating to a reduction from five turbines to four turbines and a changed turbine layout.
For the proposed Hesta Head Wind Farm, the addendum includes an updated EIA for a changed turbine layout, with the turbines moved further away from the cliffs. There is no change to the development site boundary or the maximum turbine tip height for either project.
Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission (SHET) has recently designed proposals for a new 180MW subsea cable between Dounreay and Billia Croo. As the subsea cable is a national infrastructure project, it must represent value for money and Ofgem approval is required. SHET has submitted a Needs Case for the new Orkney cable to Ofgem and it requires a ‘critical mass’ of 70MW of projects to underpin the Needs Case. The two Hoolan Energy projects contribute more than 50% of the ‘critical mass’ required for the subsea cable.
Hoolan Energy will be holding exhibition events for their two wind farm proposals in Orkney next week to update local residents on the plans.
The exhibitions details are as follows: Hesta Head Wind Farm, Tuesday, March 27, 3pm – 7pm: Cromarty Hall, St Margaret’s Hope. Costa Head Wind Farm, Wednesday, March 28, 3pm – 7pm, in the Birsay Community Hall.
Also at the exhibitions, Hoolan Energy will update on plans for the projects to be shared ownership wind farms.
Hoolan Energy says it has committed to offering a financial stake in both developments, allowing the local community to invest in and benefit from the wind farm.
The shared ownership opportunity is separate and in addition to a traditional Community Benefit Fund, whereby Hoolan Energy has also committed to £5,000 per MW (index linked) in community benefit for the lifetime of each project.
In addition to the proposals for shared ownership and the community benefit fund, Hoolan Energy has committed to a fuel poverty fund if either project is given the go ahead.
Hoolan Energy commissioned THAW Orkney, a charity established in 2014 to assist fuel poor households in Orkney, to outline how the projects could help alleviate fuel poverty.
As a result, Hoolan Energy has committed to providing an additional £1,000 per MW of installed capacity per annum over the lifetime of each project if this is ‘match funded’ with £1,000 per MW from the community benefit fund specifically to address fuel poverty, giving the local community the option of additional funds.
Lizzie Foot, development director of Hoolan Energy, said: “Following consultee feedback, we plan to submit additional information for both projects and change their layouts. We carried out further bird surveys at both sites in 2017 and the new layouts are to improve the sites in relation to ornithology as much as possible.
“The addendum also outlines the potential economic benefits of the projects to the Orkney economy and we are committed to working with local businesses to deliver these projects. With Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission recently submitting a Needs Case for a new interconnector for Orkney, these projects, if consented, will play a central role in delivering the critical mass required to enable the subsea cable to go ahead.