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Changes to Costa Head windfarm conditions rejected

The proposed windfarm at Costa Head (image courtesy of Hoolan Energy)

A planning application relating to the Costa Head windfarm has been rejected by Orkney Islands Council’s planning committee.

The application sought two changes:

  • To increase the period of time from permission being given to construction starting from three years to five years.
  • To increase the operational period of the windfarm from 25 years to 30 years.

In September, 2018, following protests outside the council chambers, councillors rejected the wind farm application for Costa Head, submitted by Hoolan Energy.

An appeal was submitted to the Scottish Government by the energy company and, in April 2019, ministers approved the application.

The approval required the development to begin within three years. Therefore the deadline for its commencement would be April, 18, 2022.

The new application, that went before OIC’s planning committee on Wednesday, sought to extend this deadline by an additional two years.

On their website, Hoolan Energy said an extension would allow more time to connect to the national grid and provide more flexibility if any further delays occur.

The new proposal also sought to increase the operational phase of the windfarm from 25 years to 30 years.

Again, on their website, Hoolan Energy said that extending the operational lifespan of the development would have meant increased energy production and carbon savings alongside increased socio-economic benefits.

They added that turbine technology has become so advanced to the point that longer warranties and durations of consent are now commonplace.

Once again, despite being recommended for approval by planning officers, the application was rejected by the committee.

The clock is ticking when it comes to fulfilling a target set by energy regulator Ofgem, which asks for a total of 135MW-worth of projects to be in the pipeline before it gives the go-ahead for a new subsea interconnecter between Orkney and the Scottish Mainland.

The deadline is December 2022.

Hoolan Energy’s two developments at Costa Head and Hesta Head account for around 40MW, while OIC hope to add a further 86.4MW with its community windfarm project.