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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Orkney Islands Council Backs West of Orkney Windfarm’s Offshore Plans

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Orkney Island Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee has given its backing to the West of Orkney Windfarm’s offshore plans.

Orkney Islands Council is a statutory consultee for Section 36 consent and marine licence applications for the proposed £multi-billion offshore windfarm, located 30km west of the Orkney Mainland and 25km north of the Sutherland coast.

The council’s committee met this week (6 February 2024) to consider the windfarm developer’s offshore plans – which are outlined in a comprehensive offshore consent application submitted to Scottish Ministers in October – and gave the proposal their support.

The offshore plans contain detailed information on how the windfarm will be constructed, including the proposed location of turbines and cable routes, and includes a comprehensive suite of environmental assessments based on survey data collected over two and a half years.

The full application can be viewed here

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, including Orkney Islands Council.

The project 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).

Commenting on the council’s backing, West of Orkney Windfarm Development Manager Jack Farnham said:

“We welcome this positive support from Orkney Islands Council.

“We have been working closely with the community and businesses in Orkney for a number of years to ensure our ambitious project will bring positive, long-term benefits to Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland and we are extremely grateful to the officials and elected representatives of the council for their endorsement of our detailed plans.

“The Scottish Government has a stated ambition to deploy 8-11GW of offshore wind in Scottish waters by 2030.

“As the first ScotWind project to enter the planning process, securing timely offshore consent from the Scottish Government and onshore planning permission from The Highland Council will be critical if Scotland is to meet this target, which will unlock significant inward investment and with it economic and social benefits to the far north,” Farnham concluded.

The developer has already supported a number of initiatives in the north of Scotland, including a £1 million research and development programme being led by EMEC in Orkney, a £900,000 education initiative led by UHI, and a £125,000 Fit 4 Renewables scheme led by ORE Catapult.

The West of Orkney Windfarm has engaged in a £105 million investment initiative during the development phase of the project to develop the supply chain that is planned to be enhanced to £140 million by match funding from third parties.

This investment will drive skills development and create opportunities for businesses and organisations in Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney, across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

The offshore consent submission includes applications for consent under the Electricity Act 1989 and marine licence applications under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.

Accompanying these is an extensive suite of assessments based on survey data collected over two and a half years.

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