Reduced bills and community ownership on offer as Skye wind farm plans submitted
Proposals for a wind farm in the north of the Isle of Skye which could see reduced electricity bills for those nearer the site and the local community owning a stake in the project have today been submitted to The Highland Council.
The application for Ben Sca Wind Farm, located approximately 2km to the south of Edinbane and 7km to the east of Dunvegan, has been submitted following a period of extensive study and community consultation.
The application has been submitted by Ben Sca Wind Farm Ltd, owned by UK renewable energy developer Wind2, which has staff based in the Highlands, Perth, Edinburgh and North Wales. Wind2 has significant experience developing onshore wind farms throughout the UK, with personnel having worked on the development of the nearby operational Ben Aketil wind farm.
The company has offered those closest to the wind farm (within 4km), the opportunity to reduce their energy bills either through a contribution to their electricity bill or by offering home energy efficiency grants as part of a £5,000 per MW community benefit package that could bring the equivalent of to up to £5.67million to the area over 30 years. In addition, Wind2 has been exploring potential opportunities for the communities around the site to acquire a direct stake of up to 5% in the project in line with the Scottish Government’s Good Practice Principles for Shared Ownership of Onshore Renewable Energy Developments.
With an installed capacity of around 38 MW, the proposed Ben Sca Wind Farm would be delivered without any public subsidy, with the potential to generate around 130,500 Megawatt hours of electricity per annum, sufficient to meet the needs of around 34,500 average UK homes. The wind farm would comprise nine wind turbines, each with a maximum blade tip height of 135 metres to tip.
As part of the planning process, Wind2 conducted a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) which examined the landscape & visual, cultural heritage, ecological and transportation aspects of the project for the local area. The company also consulted extensively with local people including two public exhibitions in Edinbane and Dunvegan, held meetings with community councils and development trusts as well as hand delivering information on the project and the electricity discount scheme to near neighbours to the site in Edinbane during November 2019.
Commenting on the submission of the planning application for the Ben Sca Wind Farm, Wind2 Development Director Fraser Mackenzie, said:
“Over the last two years, personnel from Wind2 have met with various members of local communities and conducted detailed environmental and technical studies prior to the submission of the planning application for Ben Sca Wind Farm. We believe that our project can deliver significant social, economic and environmental benefits to the Isle of Skye and the wider Highland economy.”
“We know that we will be able to build and operate this wind farm without any subsidy whilst also reducing the electricity bills of those in the immediate area and delivering other projects of benefit to the community through our proposed community benefit fund. There was clear feedback from those who attended the exhibitions and from those we spoke to on the doorstep in and around Edinbane that energy costs were a real concern. Our energy discount proposal is a practical and tangible response to this message”.
We also hope to continue the dialogue that we have started with the help of Local Energy Scotland and the local development Trusts, towards a community ownership share in the project.”
“I want to thank everyone who came to one of our exhibitions, community council and development trust meetings or that we’ve met around the local area. Our plans are now in for determination by The Highland Council and we hope they will feel able to grant us permission to deliver the benefits the Ben Sca wind farm can bring to the Isle of Skye.”
The Ben Sca Planning Application and Environmental Impact Assessment is available to view on The Highland Council Planning Portal with a hard copy available in Portree at The Highland Council Offices, Tigh na Sgire, Park Lane, Portree, IV51 9ER.