The way is clear for the start of construction of the Strathy South wind farm after ministers give the green light to taller turbines
Electricity company SSE Renewables’ offer to increase the height of the turbines at its Strathy South wind farm project by 65 m has been successful.
Scottish ministers have agreed to grant an amendment to the existing building permit, allowing the height of the initially proposed 135m to be raised to 200m, making the turbines the tallest in the region.
SSE Renewables welcomed the decision, with project manager Jon Soal saying it reflected “incredible levels of support” for the development of the local community.
Construction is now expected to begin next year.
Strathy South is located south of SSE Renewables’ operational Strathy North wind farm, approximately 12 km south of Strathy.
SSE Renewables obtained approval for a 39 turbine project in 2018 following a public inquiry.
A new application was filed in September of last year asking for permission to change heights and also to make changes to access tracks to avoid areas of deep peat.
The Highland Council agreed in June this year not to oppose the revisions, but said its support was subject to the withdrawal of four turbines, which it said would lessen the visual impact.
SE Renewables has agreed to reduce the number of turbines to 35. The project will have a generation capacity of up to 208 MW.
Strathy South enjoys broad local support with three North Coast community councils in favor – Strathy and Armadale; Bettyhill, Strathnaver and Altnaharra; and Melvich.
When Highland Council met to decide on its position on the top turbines, a number of local people showed their support for the development by holding up signs saying the wind farm would create local jobs, help with peatland restoration and would provide community benefit funds.
SSE Renewables will organize Meet the Buyer events for the local and Scottish supply chain to maximize the opportunities available for local businesses to work on the project.
Mr. Soal said: “We are confident that Strathy South will build on the success and benefits of our existing Strathy North site.
“As a responsible developer, we listen carefully to people’s perspectives to make sure we consider local needs and priorities where possible.
“Projects such as Strathy South represent a great opportunity to bring long-term economic benefits to businesses and communities in Sutherland and the wider Highlands region, while supporting our transition to net zero.
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