Scottish ministers will now be responsible for making the final decision on whether or not to grant planning permission for Orkney’s community wind farm project, Quanterness.
The council had written to the Scottish government to request that it consider calling-in the application.
The request was principally based on the potential national significance of the project, which could have a direct influence on a new subsea interconnector between Orkney and the Scottish mainland. The subsea connector has been identified in the National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3) as a ‘National Development’.
In September 2019, the electricity market regulator, Ofgem, published its final decision on the needs case for the new interconnector. Ofgem set out that planning permission for 135MW of new generation was required. This would require to be signed up to a grid connection agreement and pass a financial audit before the end of 2021 in order to trigger the interconnector.
The planning application is for a six-turbine wind farm development at Quanterness outside Kirkwall and is one part of Orkney's community wind farm project, which could also see council-owned wind farm developments in Hoy and on Faray.
Planning applications for the Hoy and Faray projects are likely to follow later in the year, as there are additional survey requirements for these sites.
Further information on the project is available here www.orkney.gov.uk/Council/C/orkneys-community-wind-farm-project.htm, on the Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Facebook page and on the project blog.