Revised wind farm plans attract Caithness supply chain support

A recent online consultation event held by RES to gather feedback on its redesigned Cairnmore Hill Wind Farm scheme has demonstrated local supply chain support for the proposal.
Revised wind farm plans attract Caithness supply chain support
Courtesy of RES.

The project, which is sited approximately 4.5 kilometres northwest of Thurso, lies in an area identified by The Highland Council as having ‘potential for wind farm development’. More than 144 ‘unique visits’ to the online exhibition were recorded during the four-week consultation period which closed earlier this month and over 25 comments forms were received with people’s thoughts on the proposal.

“We’ve held a number of phone and video calls over the last few weeks with local residents, members of the wider community, and local businesses, who wanted to understand more about the project” said Euan Hogg, Development Project Manager at RES. “We’re really pleased with the level of engagement and would like to thank all those who took the time to talk to us, share their views, and submit comments on the redesigned scheme. It’s also been interesting to engage with the local supply chain, understand the extensive onshore wind expertise within Caithness, and hear the support for the proposal from local businesses. We continue to believe that Cairnmore Hill offers excellent potential for a wind farm development and can help support a ‘green recovery’ within the region. With the recent COP26 event in Glasgow, Scottish Government ambitions for a further 8-12 GW of onshore wind by 2030 and Scotland’s legally binding 2045 net-zero emissions targets, there has never been a greater need for projects like Cairnmore Hill.”

Hugh Simpson, Director of Wick-based Hugh Simpson Contractors Ltd, added that the supply chain in Caithness is unique and that Hugh Simpson Contractors is just one of a large number of local businesses with proven skills and capabilities within the wind industry, so the inward investment potential from a project like Cairnmore Hill is significant.

“RES has a strong track record for working with the local supply chain and we’ve been impressed with their engagement so far” Mr Simpson said. “I would encourage any local businesses with relevant skills to get in touch with RES so that, should the project go ahead, it delivers as much benefit as possible to the local area and Caithness as a whole.”

If consented, Cairnmore Hill Wind Farm is predicted to deliver approximately £1.4 million of economic benefit to the area in the form of jobs, employment and use of local services - in addition to £8.75 million in business rates to the Council over its operational lifetime. It would also be capable of generating low-cost, clean renewable electricity for around 24,000 homes.

The comments period has now closed and RES will carefully review the feedback received, together with findings from site survey work and key consultee feedback, to help shape and refine the design over the coming months before submitting a planning application to The Highland Council later this year.

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