An energy company has lodged an application for a 13-turbine windfarm five miles south of Inverness on a hillside overlooking the picturesque community of Daviot.
The windfarm would be the third such development south of Inverness and the closest yet to the Highland capital.
The development by West Coast Energy at Craggie will be clearly visible to traffic on the A9 Inverness to Perth road.
The 13 turbines, which will be 377ft from ground toblade tip, will have a total capacity of 32.5MW – enough to power around 18,600 homes.
One turbine will be given to the Strathnairn and Strathdearn communities, providing them with an income worth thousands of pounds.
And West Coast Energy has also promised to give money to Inverness College and the University of the Highlands and Islands if the development goes ahead.
The partnership could be worth £3.25million over 25 years and will be used to fund educational initiatives relating to renewable energy.
It would be the first windfarm project in the Highlands to directly invest in education and skills.
West Coast Energy, Inverness College UHI and the University of the Highlands and Islands will shortly begin a consulting on how best to use the funds.
But last night one local householder said that residents in the area were worried about the impact of the windfarm.
Tony Kell, of Craggie, said that the turbines would affect more than 100 properties, as well as traffic on the A9.
He said: “People move to places like Daviot because they like the unspoilt rural location. This sort of development will be so obtrusive.”
Steve Salt, planning and development director of West Coast Energy, said: “We are delighted to announce that we have submitted our planning application for the Daviot windfarm to Highland Council.
“We are pleased with the positive feedback that we have received and the success of the consultation process. We look forward to a continued engagement with the community as the application progresses through the planning system.”
Inverness College UHI vice-principal David Hosey added: “We are delighted to be entering into this exciting partnership with West Coast Energy. The Highlands is fast becoming one of the centres of excellence in renewable energy in the UK, and it is important we have the skills and training on offer so people can benefit from the opportunities available in this expanding industry.
“If the windfarm is approved, the funding offered by West Coast Energy will allow us to take the technology to the people of the Highlands and islands in the form of a mobile unit, supporting their learning needs in their own areas.”
UHI secretary Fiona Larg said: “The partnership with West Coast Energy is a prime example of how industry and academia can work together and offers a fantastic opportunity for students in the Highlands to up-skill or re-train that they might otherwise not have had.”
There is already a 40 turbine windfarm at Farr, near Tomatin.
And last month councillors refused permission to Carbon Free Moy’s plan to build a 20-turbine windfarm on Moy Estate.
However the company had already requested that the Scottish Government consider its scheme because councillors had failed to determine the application within the statutory period of four months.
Officials from the Scottish Government’s Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals visited the Moy site yesterday as part of their investigations.