Local residents are being invited to have their say on plans to build a huge 40-turbine windfarm in the Highlands.
Simec Energy, part of GFG Alliance, will invest around £150 million in the scheme at Glenshero, seven miles north of Laggan.
During the first year of operation, it is estimated that the ambitious project would bring a minimum of £23 million into the Highlands’ economy by generating work for local businesses.
The company says the windfarm would contribute low-cost, low-carbron energy for industrial developments across the country – including the planned new alloy wheels factory next to the aluminium smelter in Fort William, owned by sister company, Liberty British Aluminium.
It is also hoped that the windfarm will contribute long-term clean power for the development of Liberty’s steel mills in Lanarkshire which roll the plate steel used in the manufacture of wind towers. The company is also hoping to set up a wind tower fabrication plant in Scotland.
The windfarm is just a part of GFG’s vision to develop the Lochaber estate lands for the benefit of the regional economy and communities. This includes enhancement and expansion of hydro-power, new recreational facilities, new and upgraded visitor accommodation, improved agriculture, forestry and fisheries, better access to the land and support for new local enterprises.
Duncan Mackison, chief executive of Jahama Highland Estates, the GFG division which manages and develops the estate lands, said: “We hope as many people as possible will come along to the public events so we can share details of these exciting proposals and hear local views.
“We’ve already had initial conversations with key stakeholders and these meetings are a valuable opportunity to take that to the next stage and involve local residents in the process of developing a scheme which promises to bring extensive benefits to the area.”
Details of the plans will be outlined by Simec representatives during information events at Laggan Village Hall on Monday, November 20, and Fort Augustus Village Hall on Tuesday, November 21. Both events will be open between 3 pm and 7.30 pm for visitors to drop in to see initial plans, hear briefings and share their views.
The original proposal for 54 turbines has already been revised following preliminary discussions between GFG and statutory consultees and after initial site investigation work.
The company is consulting extensively on the 168mw scheme ahead of submitting a planning application to Highland Council early next year.