Highland Council Greenlights West of Orkney Windfarm Onshore Plans

The Highland Council has approved the onshore plans of the 2 GW West of Orkney Windfarm project, being developed by TotalEnergies, Corio Generation, and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) in Scotland.

The onshore application for planning permission in principle was approved on 4 June and outlines the underground cables and electrical infrastructure required to connect the offshore wind farm to the national transmission network.

Last year, the project became the first ScotWind proposal to submit both its offshore consent application to Scottish Ministers and its onshore planning application to The Highland Council.

The onshore application provides information on proposed cable landfalls on the north Caithness coast, the project’s substation at Spittal in Caithness, and the underground cables which will extend around 25 kilometres and connect to the substation.

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The final decision on the offshore consent will be made by Scottish Ministers following recommendations by the Marine Directorate Licensing Operations Team (MD-LOT) and taking into account comments made by statutory consultees, the developer stated.

“We would like to thank local residents and community representatives, landowners and businesses across the Highlands for their time and input on our proposals. Community feedback helped us shape and deliver our application. The officers’ report and members positive decision ensures we can continue to realise the local, regional and national benefits from the West of Orkney Windfarm,” said Jack Farnham, West of Orkney Windfarm Development Manager.

In 2022, the West of Orkney Windfarm secured the development rights to an area of seabed from Crown Estate Scotland in the ScotWind leasing round to develop an offshore wind farm 30 kilometres west of Orkney and 25 kilometres north of the Sutherland coast.

The project plans to feature 125 wind turbines on fixed foundations, with construction expected to begin in 2027. The offshore wind farm is anticipated to generate its first electricity in 2029.

Once fully operational, the West of Orkney Windfarm project will provide enough renewable energy for around two million homes, according to the developer.

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