Renewable energy developer RES has submitted a Section 36 planning application for a substantial wind farm project at Hill of Fare in Scotland. The 16-turbine wind farm, with a capacity of 105.6MW, aims to provide a substantial boost to the local economy, potentially injecting £150 million. The proposed project, situated approximately 6km north of Banchory, is expected to contribute £14 million during its construction phase and generate an additional £66 million in economic activity linked to operations and maintenance throughout its operational life.
If approved, the RES 105.6MW Scottish project is to deliver numerous benefits to Aberdeenshire, including an estimated £50 million in business rates to support local services. Additionally, a proposed community benefit package exceeding £26 million is on the table, which includes a unique Local Electricity Discount Scheme (LEDS) to offer an annual electricity bill discount for properties in close proximity to the wind farm.
The Hill of Fare wind farm, if consented, is designed to produce 18% of the UK’s current electric vehicle fleet’s power or provide enough clean electricity for approximately 101,000 homes annually. Gavin Shirley, Development Project Manager at RES, expressed enthusiasm for the UK Government’s commitment to attracting record levels of investment in renewable energy, with projects like Hill of Fare playing a vital role in this effort.
As part of the proposed plans, RES aims to implement a tailored community benefit package, valued at £528,000 annually or £26.4 million over the project’s lifetime. This package, subject to agreement with local communities, may include RES’ LEDS, which has garnered strong interest from the community.
Furthermore, the planning submission outlines a cultural heritage walking trail featuring designated pathways and interpretation boards to connect key heritage assets in the local area. RES is also exploring opportunities to support access and recreation, such as renovating an old shooting lodge for shelter and visitor information and creating car-parking facilities for the Hill of Fare.
In addition to the Hill of Fare project, RES has applied for permitting approval for another significant wind farm project in Scotland. The Longcroft project, located in the Scottish Borders, features 19 turbines with a total capacity of 125.4MW. Both projects would utilize 6.6MW turbines. RES has undertaken extensive technical and environmental survey work for the Longcroft project, capturing findings in an Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) and summarizing public feedback in a Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) Report.
The company’s commitment:
James Cameron, Senior Development Project Manager at RES, highlighted the company’s commitment to ensuring tangible benefits for the local area. For the Longcroft Wind Farm, RES is engaging with surrounding communities to tailor a community benefit package, potentially including the LEDS and ambitious biodiversity proposals such as peatland restoration, native woodland riparian planting, and enhancement of butterfly habitats.
The statutory consultation period, facilitated by the Energy Consents Unit (ECU), allows the public and key consultees to submit formal representations on the Longcroft project, with a closing date for submissions set for January 12, 2024. Scottish Ministers may consider representations received after this date. Both wind farm projects signify RES’s dedication to contributing significantly to Scotland’s renewable energy landscape while fostering economic growth and environmental stewardship in the respective localities.