A Scottish renewable energy developer said it hopes to ‘boost the local economy’ with the additional of a new onshore wind farm n the Highlands.
SSE Renewables, a clean energy subsidiary of energy firm SSE, tabled an application bid for a 36-turbine development at Fort Augustus, near Loch Ness, in the Monadhliath mountains.
The company, which also operates the £350 million Stonelairg wind farm nearby, said it hopes the 150 megawatt (MW) Cloiche wind farm would bring “socio-economic benefits to the local area”.
SSE said its renewable energy projects in the Highlands have already brought £90m of value to the Great Glen area and supports around 130 jobs each year
Craig Cunningham, SSE Renewables development project manager for Cloiche, said: “We have taken care to design the wind farm to minimise impact on the environment and have taken local communities’ opinions on board.
“We hope to build on the support we have received during the consenting process.
“If taken forward, this project will boost the local economy while helping the UK meet its net zero targets.”
If consented, the proposed project has the potential to power 233,000 homes, equivalent to twice the households in a city the size of Aberdeen.
The submission comes after a second round of local consultation events held in January 2020 to allow local residents, community groups and businesses to see and comment on the proposals.
SSE Renewables owns almost 2 gigawatts (GW) of operational onshore wind capacity in the UK with over 1GW under development.
However, the John Muir Trust head of land management, Mike Daniels, claimed the drive to reach net carbon zero “should not be at the cost of destroying our precious wild landscapes”.
He added: “When the highly damaging Stronelairg windfarm was consented, part of the planning permission was on the basis that these turbines now being applied for under the name of Cloiche, did not go ahead.
“It is difficult to see how or why the planning authorities would now reverse that decision.”