The site at Cairnmore Hill was chosen because:
- it has excellent wind speeds
- there are few environmental constraints on site
- it can be easily accessed off the A836 public road
- it is close to Scrabster harbour
Importantly, the site is also located in an area that the Caithness and Sutherland Local Development Plan seeks to promote as an internationally renowned centre for renewable energy. The site is also classed as a Group 3 Area, ‘areas with potential for wind farm development’, in The Highland Council’s Spatial Framework policy.
In July 2016 RES submitted a Scoping Report to Highland Council for a wind farm proposal of up to 10 turbines at Cairnmore Hill, approximately 4.5km west of Scrabster. The Report set out the anticipated scope of works required for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process.
In November 2016 we held public exhibitions in order to engage early with the local community on the proposal and listen to their feedback. Over 80 people turned out to learn about the project and more than 60 comments forms were submitted. Further information can be found here.
Continued survey work and extensive environmental studies have been undertaken over the last few years in order to build a thorough understanding of the site. A wealth of data and information has been collected, providing a rigorous dataset, and enabling RES to develop a robust design in relation to environmental considerations. The findings from this work, together with feedback from the local community and key consultees, have been considered during the design development process and will be reported in the Environmental Statement which will form part of any planning application that is submitted.
RES is now in the final stages of design and has reduced the layout from 10 turbines to 8 turbines, with tip height increasing from 125m to up to 138.5m in order to maximise the efficiency of the site. We are therefore holding a further set of project information events in April 2019 in order to update the community on the project and explain the changes to the design. Further information can be found here.
A planning application is expected to be submitted to Highland Council later this year.