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Testing to begin for Community Wind Farm Project

An artist’s impression of how the six wind turbines would look at Quanterness.

Work to install “met masts” at two of the sites being considered as part of Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project is due to get underway shortly.

Through ‘Orkney’s Community Wind Farm Project’ the Council’s Strategic Projects team is investigating three sites for potential community wind farms in the county – at Wee Fea in Hoy, Faray in the North Isles, and at Quanterness in St Ola.

The masts will measure wind speed and direction at the sites. This data will then be used in further assessing the viability of the sites.

The masts are due to be installed at Quanterness and Hoy by the end of March — with a different kind of measurement system being used at the site in Faray.

Planning permission for the masts was approved in December last year.

Meteorological masts are an assembly of bolted, galvanised steel tube sections, consisting of a series of anemometers, wind vanes and a data logger, solar panel, temperature sensor and antenna. The equipment gathers a range of meteorological data in order to provide a detailed understanding of the area’s wind characteristics.

The masts will be up to 90 metres in height and will be in place for up to two years.

If the Community Wind Farm Project’s proposals and sites are found through the planning process to be appropriate and the project goes forward, OIC believes it could generate significant income and community benefit for Orkney. The council has stated that all profit would stay in the islands, enabling OIC to preserve and enhance key services that local people value and depend upon and providing a foundation for communities to drive transformational projects of their own.

The council also hopes that developments will also allow it to join other local developers in making a meaningful contribution to a needs case for a new interconnector for Orkney, with the aim of substantially supporting the vital renewable energy industry in Orkney.

Due to practical limitations, the Faray site has already had a Lidar system installed to measure wind speed and direction.  Lidar stands for Light Detection and Ranging and is very similar to radar.

The proposed Quanterness site has the potential capacity for six turbines and the site on Faray has enough space for up to seven turbines. The current proposal at the site in Hoy is to erect seven turbines at a blade tip height of up to 149.9m.

Pre-application consultation for the proposed site at Quanterness took place in November last year and a planning application was lodged with the planning authority in January. OIC has since written to the Scottish Government to ask that they call in the application, on grounds of national significance.

Further public consultation events are planned for Hoy in March, with Faray events in Eday and Westray likely to take place in May.