The first development in the winning bids of last year’s 24.8GW ScotWind leasing competition has filed papers seeking planning consent from ministers at Holyrood.

Offshore consent documents for the West of Orkney marine park 30 kilometres off the island are now with officials.   The project’s 2GW boilerplate output is presented as meeting the power needs of around two million homes.

West of Orkney is backed by a consortium led by Total Energies. Composed of up to 125 turbines on fixed foundations, the French firm with partners, Macquarie-linked Corio Generation and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) has earmarked 2029 for the park to deliver its first power.

The submission includes applications under the Electricity Act 1989 and marine licence applications under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. Accompanying them is an extensive suite of assessments based on survey data collected over two and a half years.

The West of Orkney project lies wholly within the “N1” Plan Option, one of 15 areas around Scotland which the Scottish Government considered suitable for the development of commercial scale offshore windfarms.

The Scottish Government published its Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in October 2020 following over two years of extensive analysis, consideration and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders.

A grid connection agreement with National Grid in Caithness underpins the plan. The partners are also exploring options to power the Flotta Hydrogen Hub, under development at Orkney’s oil terminal.

Development manager Jack Farnham said: “Any project which intends to power around two million homes cannot be undertaken in isolation from the communities in which it will operate.

“Over the last two years we’ve organised 33 public events, reaching over 2,400 residents across Caithness, Sutherland and Orkney. These events have been a platform for the community to engage with the project’s design, ensuring that we develop an environmentally responsible and socially beneficial project that resonates with local needs and aspirations.

“This application outlines our commitment to safeguard marine habitats, protect wildlife, and minimise any potential disturbances to the local ecosystem.

  • Meanwhile, at Britain’s biggest onshore windfarm now operating, the 0.6GW Whitelee venture ten miles south of Glasgow, developers ScottishPower Renewables are starting a bug hunt, designed to measure the genetic diversity of flying insects.

Ecologists working for the clean generator will collect insects from Whitelee and send them to be analysed as part of the Wellcome Sanger Institute’s BIOSCAN project.

Data from the project will allow the ecology team to detect what impact ScottishPower Renewables’ peatland restoration work has on the insect communities at Whitelee.


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