Two wind farms approved
Two wind farms which can power over 90,000 homes have been approved by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.
The 177 MW Dorenell wind farm on the Glenfiddich estate, near Dufftown in Moray, will power 84,000 homes - double the number of homes in Moray.
The project will see a capital investment of over £250 million, generating at least £93 million in direct benefits for the Scottish economy. Around 75 jobs will be created in construction, with further maintenance jobs once operational, and the developer, Infinergy will seek to use local contractors and suppliers.
Infinergy has also committed to deliver long lasting community benefits, worth around £350,000 per year, including new housing and tourism opportunities through a new visitor centre.
The six turbine, 21 MW extension to the 104 MW Muaitheabhal wind farm on the Eisgein estate in Lewis will add capacity to power an additional 9,000 homes.
The Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust will benefit from a share of the revenue generated by the privately owned element of the consented Muaitheabhal wind farm and extension, and the developer will also pay a portion of its annual revenue to the Western Isles Development Trust.
Ministers have now consented 50 energy applications since 2007.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said:
"These two projects will provide a significant boost to the economy and to our efforts to become a green energy powerhouse.
"Once up and running, the Dorenell wind farm will produce enough green electricity to power double the number of homes in Moray, creating new jobs and cutting emissions. The development will provide a new visitor centre and stimulate wider regeneration, and help protect the environment through fisheries and habitat management plans.
"The Muaitheabhal extension will see extra capacity added to the existing plans and both developments will play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of electricity demand coming from renewables by 2020.
"Crucially, I am pleased to see local communities profiting from Scotland's vast natural resources through community benefit agreements that will keep money in our communities."
In May 2008 Infinergy Ltd (UK), acting on behalf of Dorenell Ltd, applied for consent to construct and operate the Dorenell Wind Farm on the Glenfiddich Estate near Dufftown, Moray. The development comprises 59 wind turbines with a generating capacity of 177 MW.
Following an objection from Moray Council, Ministers referred the application to Public Local Inquiry which was held between October 2010 and November 2010. Ministers received the Reporter's recommendations to grant consent for the development subject to conditions in June 2011. 1261 public representations were received - 646 objections and 615 in support.
Consent for the 104 MW Muaitheabhal wind farm was granted in January 2010. It has not yet been built. On 16 December 2010, Land Use Consultants, on behalf of Crionaig Power, applied for consent to construct and operate a 6 turbine, 21.6 MW extension to the Muaitheabhal wind farm. Five public objections were received.
The Scottish Government has now determined 56 energy applications, including approval for 47 new renewable and three non-renewable projects, since May 2007. The Scottish Government is currently considering another 40 applications of nearly four Gigawatts of renewables capacity.