Orkney Islands Council’s ambitious plans for 3 community wind farms have been described by Leader of the council James Stockan as essential to decarbonise our local community.
The public were able to view the plans at Kirkwall Town Hall on Thursday 2nd of May. Some councillors and officials were also in attendance to answer questions and provide more information.
OIC’s proposals are to have in total 3 community wind farms located on: Hoy, the uninhabited island of Faray and at Quanterness, Mainland.
The Planning Committee of OIC recently had their objections to Hoolan Energy’s proposed wind farms at Hesta and Costa overturned by The Scottish Government’s Planning and Appeals Division (DPEA Scotland).
The Costa and Hesta Wind Farms are promising a community pay back of £5000 per MW.
Lizzie Foot, Development Director of Hoolan Energy, said:
“Local communities will receive £5,000 per MW of annual community benefit fund for each project. This is index linked and lasts for the lifetime of the wind farm, meaning overall community benefit of up to £4.59m. Fuel poverty match funding of over £800,000 has also been offered. In addition, we are offering shared community ownership of at least 10% in our projects and are committed to ongoing engagement and support to enable Orcadians to take up this offer.”
- Hoy: 7 turbines
- Quanterness : 6 turbines.
- Faray: which the council owns, 8 turbines
There are two public events scheduled for Eday ( Tuesday 7 May – Eday Heritage Centre – 12.00 to 16.00 and 19.30 to 21.30) and Rendall (Wednesday 8 May – Rendall Community Centre – 12.30 to 17.00 and 19.00 to 21.00) with a future one planned for Westray.
The event in Kirkwall had followed a short statement to the full council that morning by OIC Leader James Stockan on the islands response to the climate change emergency. Councillor Stockan had attended an ‘excellent’ meeting with Roseanne Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform in the Scottish Government where he had offered Orkney as an example of ‘how things can be done‘.
Referring to the OIC Plan to become a carbon neutral community, James Stockan said:
‘our statement has been made 2 years ago…. but we need to reinforce that’. He was supported in this by Depute Leader Leslie Manson.
You can hear that statement 8 minutes in: General Meeting of the Council 2nd May 2019
Orkney’s community wind farm project is incredibly ambitious both in what it wishes to achieve and the time frame it seems to be setting itself. Public engagement is crucial but the response to this first meeting from residents was extremely poor. The economic benefits to the community from the ‘revenue stream’ may not be realised for 25 years but the construction of the infrastructure would itself be a jobs boost.
Localised environmental impact versus a global climate change emergency is a difficult balance to achieve. The People of Orkney will be taking the impact of the wind farm developments and if they are to go ahead the community must benefit. They must also have a meaningful say in how that money is spent within their communities.
‘This is not oil reserve fund 2‘, said James Stockan but all the profit will be going into the local community not to replace core Government funding but to continue to make Orkney the best place to live.
Here is a slideshow of some of the information panels