Highland Council turns down “Green Recovery” Caithness wind farm
by RES | Mar 10, 2021 | Reading time: 2 min
The Highland Council has turned down Cairnmore Hill Wind Farm under delegated powers, missing the opportunity to secure the economic and environmental benefits offered by a Green Recovery for the region.
The eight-turbine project, located 4.5km northwest of Thurso is in an area identified by The Highland Council as having ‘potential for wind farm development’. It is predicted to deliver approximately £2.2 million of inward investment to the area in the form of jobs, employment and use of local services – in addition to around £12 million in business rates to Highland Council during its operational life. The wind farm would also be capable of generating low carbon renewable energy, at least cost to the consumer, for around 37,000 homes.
Paula Batchelor, Project Manager for RES, commented: “We’ve been talking to the local supply chain in Caithness for some time and what we know is that there is no shortage of experienced local businesses, capable of working on projects like Cairnmore Hill. If the project had been backed by Highland Council, we would now be planning for the start of construction and seeking to partner will those local businesses to deliver contracts worth around £2.2 million.
“In the year that COP26 comes to Scotland, there has never been a greater need to take positive, environmental and economic decisions to tackle climate change. We need projects like Cairnmore Hill to help us achieve this and to support Scotland’s longer-term goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2045.
“Naturally we’re disappointed by the Council’s decision but it’s also a big missed opportunity for the local workforce, businesses and our environment. We’re also frustrated that this important decision was taken by Highland Council without the project going to a planning committee, especially given they have backed the need for a Green Recovery to meet our climate change commitments.”
Jordan Crawford, local resident said: “As a member of the community who attended the public exhibition and saw the opportunities for local businesses, I’m really surprised at this decision by Highland Council. It’s such a shame. RES has been a great developer to work with and in my view they’ve picked a good site that’s going to make the most of the wind up there. I really hope they find a way to move the project forward as, personally, I think it would provide great opportunities for the community and local businesses.”
New onshore wind is now the cheapest form of new electricity generation. The project received positive feedback from the public at the 2016 and 2019 exhibition events held by RES in Forss and Thurso. RES now has three months to consider whether it wishes to appeal The Highland Council’s decision.
Notes to editors:
RES is the world’s largest independent renewable energy company active in onshore and offshore wind, solar, energy storage, transmission and distribution. At the forefront of the industry for 39 years, RES has delivered more than 19GW of renewable energy projects across the globe and supports an operational asset portfolio exceeding 7GW worldwide for a large client base. Understanding the unique needs of corporate clients, RES has secured 1.5GW of power purchase agreements (PPAs) enabling access to energy at the lowest cost. RES employs more than 3,000 people and is active in 10 countries.