More details have been shed on a major renewable energy development in the Monadhliath which will enable three proposed wind farms to connect to the National Grid.
SSEN Transmission released further information on its large-scale plans for the Melgarve Cluster Project via two virtual exhibitions held earlier this week.
A public consultation has been due to take place at Laggan Village Hall on Tuesday afternoon, but that was cancelled by the energy giant last week citing the current dangers posed by the Omicron variant.
SSENT is responsible for progressing applications for the energy infrastructure including underground cables and overhead lines to connect new energy development to the grid.
They are progressing with the plans despite the two of the three wind farms – Glenshero and Cloiche – yet having consent from Scottish ministers.
Dell Wind Farm was approved in summer 2019 by a Scottish Reporter having initially been refused by Highland Council.
Around 5.5 kilometres of underground cable is proposed to be constructed to connect Glenshero wind farm to the substation.
But there will be 11 kilometres of overhead line required to link Cloiche wind farm and 16 kilometres of overhead line required to connect Dell Wind Farm if the projects are approved.
A spokesperson for SSEN Transmission told the Strathy: “The proposed Melgarve Cluster Project will allow us to connect three new proposed wind farm developments in the area to the transmission network.
“This will allow the transportation of renewable electricity from where its generated to where it is needed, supporting the transition to net zero emission and the fight against climate change.
“The consultation on the current proposals is open until 28 January, and we will review all comments and feedback and take them on board.
“As a responsible developer we’ll continue to work closely with the local community and all stakeholders as we continue to develop our project proposals and will keep them informed as the project progresses.”
Glenshero went to a Public Local Inquiry in November 2019 and a decision is still awaited from Scottish ministers while plans for the turbines at Della and Cloiche have yet to be formally submitted.
The turbines are all in the vicinity of the existing Stronelairg development which went to a Public Local Inquiry and was eventually approved after a court ruling.
To enable the connection of the new wind farms, additional work will be required at Melgarve substation to accommodate them.
This will require an extension to the substation by summer 2025.
SSENT said it had been a difficult decision to cancel the in person events ‘due to the ever increasing Covid-19 levels’.
A company spokeswoman said: “ We are disappointed that we have had to cancel, however, our top priority is the safety of the residents and communities of Fort Augustus and Laggan.”
A Cairngorms National Park Authority spokeswoman said on the proposed development: “We’re aware of the this project and will consider the detail of any firm proposals at the appropriate time with the advice of NatureScot.”
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