A new wind farm capable of powering double the number of homes there are in Inverness has been approved. The 33-turbine, 99-Megawatt Dunmaglass wind farm 20 miles south of Inverness will supply enough electricity for 46,000 houses.
Around 55 people will be employed during the construction phase and the development will provide lasting community benefits. The news follows recent statistics that show almost 30 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs came from renewables in 2009.
Energy Minister Jim Mather said:
“This is a another step on the road to a low carbon Scotland, with a further 46,000 homes set to be powered by clean, green electricity. Scotland already gets over a quarter of its electricity needs from green sources and consent for this new development rounds off another tremendous year for renewables.
“I am pleased that the developer has agreed a community benefit package for the three local community councils and will fund a substantial package of upgrades of the local B851 road. RES is also involved in an innovative link with the University of Highlands and Islands for a graduate development programme and an internship programme. This is exactly the type of development that works with local communities to transform Scotland to a low carbon economy and drive economic growth.”
In February 2005, RES UK & Ireland Ltd applied for consent to construct and operate the Dunmaglass wind farm in the local Planning Authority area of Highland Council.
The development would comprise of 36 turbines with a 3 MW capacity. Further to issues raised by consultees, an addendum was received in April 2008 covering issues relating to layout, turbine reduction and increase in turbine height, ornithology and ecology. The reduction in turbines is from 36, to 33 taller turbines with a 3 MW capacity each, giving a total of up to 99 MW. Following consultation, the Highland Council supported the application as detailed above and raised no objection subject to a number of conditions derived from their own consultation.
The Scottish Government’s target is to meet 80 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020. In 2009, 27 per cent of electricity demand came from renewables. (stat available Dec 22). There is around 7 Gigawatts (GW) of renewables capacity installed, under construction or consented around Scotland, which will take Scotland beyond the interim target of 31 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand from renewables by 2011.
The Scottish Government has now determined 45 energy applications, including approval for 37 renewable and three non-renewable projects since May 2007 – more than double the number of determinations than over the whole of the previous four years, in which 19 projects were determined.
The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is currently processing 34 applications (24 onshore wind, 5 hydro and 5 thermal).