The West of Orkney Windfarm has submitted an onshore planning application to The Highland Council for onshore works required to deliver renewable energy to homes and businesses nationwide.

The onshore application provides detailed information on the proposed cable landfalls on the north Caithness coast, the project’s substation at or near Spittal in Caithness and the underground cables, which will extend around 20km and connect to the substation.

Last year, the West of Orkney Windfarm secured the development rights to an area of seabed from Crown Estate Scotland in the highly competitive ScotWind leasing process to bring forward an offshore windfarm 30km west of the Orkney Mainland and 25km north of the Sutherland coast.

Development Manager Jack Farnham said: “The West of Orkney Windfarm is a £multi-billion project which will deliver significant social and economic benefits to the north of Scotland.

“The onshore connection is a vital component of the project and will enable us to export clean electricity sufficient to power around two million homes. The cables to our substation will all be underground, and once installed, the land will be reinstated.

“We’ve worked hard to consider all environmental and social constraints when seeking to locate the landfalls, underground cables and substation. We’ve taken on board local communities’ feedback through a series of public events. The substation will be carefully screened by landscaping and native planting. Once operational, the substation will only be lit when necessary. We’re committed to reduce the volume of traffic on local roads and will continue to work closely with the council and local communities through the development process.

“Over the last two years, we’ve organised 33 public events, meeting over 2400 residents across Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney in order to allow local people to actively participate and engage with the project’s design.

“Our application includes a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, managed through Xodus Group’s Stromness office, and includes thorough assessments of the environmental impact and proposes measures to avoid, reduce, monitor and manage potential challenges, where necessary.

“We believe this application underscores our commitment to delivering a project to the very highest environmental standards,” Farnham said.

The West of Orkney Windfarm will have up to 125 turbines on fixed foundations, an expected capacity of around two gigawatts and aims to deliver first power in 2029. It is being developed by a joint venture comprising Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG).

In October, the project reached a major milestone by submitting comprehensive offshore consent applications to Scottish Ministers. It is the first ScotWind project to have applied for offshore consent, doing so only 20 months after being awarded the site.

“Securing both offshore and onshore consents in a reasonable timescale are critical milestones in unlocking the significant inward investment this ambitious project will generate,” Farnham says.

“The onshore application will be available to view at Thurso Library, Ulbster Arms Hotel and Bettyhill Hotel and on our website and I would encourage as many people as possible to view and comment on our proposal,” Farnham concludes.

Once The Highland Council has validated the planning application, representations can be made directly to the council.

All documentation and details of public locations can be accessed via the West of Orkney Windfarm website here:

Image source: Courtesy of The West of Orkney Windfarm

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