|N E W S F E E D S >>>|
Wind Farms News Bulletins And Information
|Wind Farm Index||Caithness.org News Index|
WIND FARM SITES APPROVED, APPLIED OR SCOPED IN HIGHLAND
Up To December 2003
14 January 03
Other Alternative Energy Schemes
Hydro electric Schemes are also advancing and 13 new hydro electric schemes have been approved in recent times by Highland Council. A further four have been applied for and yet another four are at the scoping opinion stage. None of the schemes are in Caithness and only on is in Sutherland - Loch Poll at Assynt. These numerous developments underline the drive towards meeting targets of having much more energy in the UK from alternative sources and the market place for the purchase of this form of energy means that companies may be able to make good profits as there will still be a shortage of alternative energy sources fro a number of years. Off shore schemes are being looked at increasingly as away of increasing the out put and the possibility of a major tidal schemes offshore are also being seriously considered.
WIND FARM INTEREST IN HIGHLAND 9 December 2002
The Highland Council is gearing up to cope with growing interest from energy companies for development of wind farms. One wind farm is currently operational; four applications have been approved; four applications are being processed; six are known to be in the pipeline; and many other enquiries have been made about potential sites.
The one wind farm which is operational is a 34 machine development at Novar, Evanton with an output of 17 megawatts. The operator is National Wind Power. Grid reference NH555715.
Wind Farms which have been approved by the Planning Committee but await construction are: -
* Fivestone Ltd has permission for two machines
with a 2 MW output at Forss, by Thurso (Grid
* Mr Tony Hall, landowner, has permission for 15
machines with 9 MW output at Buolfruich, Houstry,
* Amec Wind has permission for 27 machines with 47 MW output at Edinbane, Skye (NG354467).
Planning or Electricity Act applications submitted but not, as yet, determined are: -
* Scottish Power is seeking permission for 10
machines with 17 MW output at Borrowston, Dounreay
* Scottish Power
is seeking permission for 20
machines with an output of 35 MW at Beinn Tharsuinn,
Renewable Development Company is seeking
permission for 14 machines with an output of 21 MW
Anticipated in the near future are the following: -
* National Wind Power is seeking an extension to the Novar site, Evanton.
* Scottish and Southern Energy is planning a development at Gordonbush, Brora (NC868160).
* Renewable Energy Systems is planning a development at Dunmaglass, Strathnairn (NH637177).
* Renewable Energy Systems is planning an extension at Forss, by Thurso.
* British Energy is planning a development at Schoolary, Mey, Caithness (ND290690).
On top of this, North British Windpower has
publicised plans for a 50 machine development, with a 100 MW output,
on the Skelpick Estate, near Bettyhill.
If all of these were to go ahead, this would result in approximately 630 megawatts (gross capacity) of power being generated from wind energy.
And there is a significant number of developers who have made tentative enquiries about other potential sites for development.
While the Scottish Executive is currently setting national targets for the growth of the renewable energy sector, these are not at present translated into regional targets (e.g. for the Highlands and Islands, the South of Scotland, the Central Belt and North East Scotland). Therefore it is difficult at present to put a figure like 630 MW into any sort of context, and to plan on the basis of a desirable capacity for wind farms in a region. The Council believes strategic guidance is urgently needed from the Scottish Executive on regional capacities based on a range of factors, e.g. environmental, transmission network.
So why the current and future upsurge in interest in wind farms? Due to the terms of the Renewables Obligation (Scotland), electricity suppliers are obliged to provide a steadily increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable sources or pay a buy-out price. There is therefore a strong demand to secure new renewable energy sites whose output will qualify for Renewable Energy Certificates (ROCs). In terms of overall Scottish targets, the present proportion of electricity generated from renewable sources is 12%, and the intention is that this should rise to 18% by 2010 and the Executive is presently consulting on this level rising to 40% by 2020. In the longer term contributions may come from emerging technologies such as wave and tidal power.
Council representatives have recently visited a wind farm at Karstadt and Bluthen, which are located between Hamburg and Berlin in Brandenberg, Germany, to see large turbines (99 metres high to the tip) in action and to consider the community benefit that derives from large developments. Germany has 8,000 megawatts of renewable and wind energy activity and ranks first in the world for wind generation capacity. A small delegation has also visited a major wave power development in Belgium.
If there is to be significant activity in wind farm development in Highland, the Council is keen to encourage the establishment within the Inner Moray Firth area of a wind turbine manufacturing facility and is actively in discussion with potential developers.
The Council has decided that all applications for wind farms will be determined locally by the Planning Development Europe and Tourism Committee following a full hearings procedure. However applications for wind energy above 50 megawatts and hydro schemes above 1 megawatt are submitted to the Scottish Executive under Section 36 of the Electricity Act of 1989 for approval (e.g the Farr proposed wind farm). The Council in such cases acts a statutory consultee and this can be confusing for the general public. Therefore the Council intends to request a meeting with the Scottish Executive - possibly in liaison with other local authorities dealing with large wind farms - to seek to review these arrangements and to investigate various streamlining of procedures.
Significant future renewable energy development also raises the question of the capacity of the electricity transmission network. The Council wishes investment in the strengthening of the electricity grid in Highland to enable the renewable energy resource to be fully utilised. This cost should be met centrally to reflect the grid's national purpose. In particular, it would like to see capacity doubled on the main grid route between Beauly and Denny, Stirlingshire, and improvements between Dounreay and Inverness, and also along the North Coast of Sutherland.
The issue of local community benefit from wind farms is very important in Highland. The Council believes for example that local residents and community groups should be given the opportunity and assistance to invest in nearby renewable energy schemes and welcomes the establishment of the Community Renewable Energy Initiative at HIE which among other things will be exploring this possibility.
Quite separately, the Council has established a Community Benefit Working Group to consider how to maximise and optimise community benefit from developments, such as wind farms. A report is being prepared for consideration by the Sustainable Development Select Committee early next year.