Final approval of plans to extend the Bhlaraidh wind farm near Fort Augustus will create ‘substantial opportunities’ for local employment and investment, according to developer SSE Renewables.
The Scottish Government formally approved an application by SSE Renewables on Tuesday, which will see further turbines added to the the existing Bhlaraidh Wind Farm development, near Invermoriston in the Great Glen.
The 32-turbine, 108MW wind farm began operating in 2017, but the new plans would add an additional 15 units with an installed capacity of up to 100MW and a tip height of up to 180m, depending on turbine selection.
Highland Council’s South Area planning applications committee approved SSE’s plans with no objections earlier this year, but the final decision rested with central government.
SSE has said that the approval will mean “significant investment” in the area.
Around one-third of Bhlaraidh Wind Farm’s capital and operating expenditure – more than £120 million – is projected to be secured in the Great Glen during the life span of the development, it said.
“The Scottish Government’s decision to approve our application for Bhlaraidh Extension Wind Farm is a positive move for the environment and the Highland economy. The construction of Bhlaraidh Extension will provide significant opportunities for businesses and tradespeople in the region and will also create substantial opportunities for local and regional community investment through the establishment of a new community fund, just as the existing Bhlaraidh Wind Farm community fund has done,” said project manager Craig Cunningham.
“We will take some time to review the detail of the Scottish Government’s decision before work begins on all of the pre-construction activity necessary to allow us to proceed with the main construction of the project, subject to reaching a Final Investment Decision (FID) which is targeted for 2024,” he added.
SSE Renewables’ head of onshore development Derek Hastings added: “The Highland region is crucial to SSE Renewables and the development of projects like Bhlaraidh Extension Wind Farm, along with other projects such as Cloiche, Strathy South and Achany Extension, is proof of our long-standing and deep commitment to generating a thriving, long-term renewable energy industry in the Highlands.”