The developers behind the West of Orkney Windfarm, a significant offshore wind project in Scotland, have recently submitted an essential onshore planning application to The Highland Council. This application pertains to the onshore infrastructure required for the project, marking a pivotal step in its development.
The comprehensive documentation includes detailed plans for the proposed cable landfalls along the north Caithness coast, the location of the project's substation in or near Spittal in Caithness, and the underground wiring system extending approximately 20 kilometers to connect with the substation.
In a competitive process, the West of Orkney Windfarm secured development rights for a seabed area from Crown Estate Scotland last year. This project is poised to be situated 30 kilometers west of the Orkney Mainland and 25 kilometers north of the Sutherland coast, positioning it as a crucial contributor to Scotland's renewable energy landscape.
Development manager Jack Farnham highlighted the significance of the onshore connection, stating, “The onshore connection is a vital component of the project and will enable us to export clean electricity sufficient to power around two million homes. The cables to our substation will all be underground, and once installed, the land will be reinstated.”
Farnham also stressed the project's commitment to minimizing environmental and social impacts, taking into account feedback from local communities through a series of public events. The substation's visual impact will be mitigated through landscaping and native planting, and its lighting will be used sparingly.
To further reduce the impact on local roads, the project's developers are actively collaborating with the council and local communities throughout the development process.
The West of Orkney Windfarm is poised to feature up to 125 turbines on fixed foundations, with an expected capacity of approximately 2 gigawatts, aiming to deliver its first power by 2029. This ambitious endeavor is being driven by a joint venture comprising Corio Generation, TotalEnergies, and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG), signaling a significant step forward in Scotland's renewable energy aspirations.