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Hoolan wind projects win government contracts

The UK Government has awarded a 15-year contract to Hoolan Energy for its two Orkney wind projects.

Orkney is to become part of a “green energy powerhouse”, said the UK Government, this morning, Friday, as they awarded contracts to two controversial wind farms in the county.

Projects at Costa Head in Evie and Hesta Head in South Ronaldsay, developed by Hoolan Energy, have been named as part of a package of 12 wind farms to win “contracts for difference” — which allow the companies to sell energy at lower prices.

The scheme is the government’s main mechanism for supporting new renewable electricity generation project. Successful generators still sell the electricity they produce on the wholesale market but receive a “top-up” payment over the course of the 15-year contract.

Changes made to rules which had forbidden all onshore wind projects from competing in the electricity market in 2018 meant projects in the Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney were able to compete.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK is leading the way in the fight against climate change, and it’s great news that millions more homes will be powered by clean energy at record low prices.

“Seizing the opportunities of clean energy not only helps to protect our planet, but will also back businesses and boost jobs across the UK.”

Though they may have won favour with the government, Hoolan’s two Orkney projects have previously been met with protest from the public and rejection by councillors. More than 30 protestors took to School Place, last September, when the projects appeared before the OIC planning committee. Though there were no statutory objections to either project, there were 51 letters of objection and 15 of support for the Costa project. The Hesta Project, meanwhile, received a total of 89 objections and nine letters of support.

Though councillors elected to reject the wind farms, this decision was later overturned by the Scottish Government. This sparked criticism from former planning chairman, Councillor Owen Tierney, who accused the government of “lacking faith” in the local planning system.

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