Planners to recommend new Skye wind farm

Plans for a 14-turbine wind farm between Ose and Struan on Skye are due to go before Highland Council’s north planning committee next Tuesday.

The Scottish Government, as the owners of the land, are supporting the partnership approach being taken between Kilmac Construction and local crofters, and if given the go-ahead, the proposed development will be able to generate 42 MW — enough electricity to supply 23,000 homes per year.

The total capital construction costs of the proposed development are estimated at over £55 million, with around £5 million likely to go to the local contractors.

ben ak wind farm
If approved the Glen Ullinish project would become the third major wind farm in north west Skye, joining the existing schemes at Edinbane and Ben Aketil (pictured). Photograph CC/Richard Dorrell

After engaging with the five local community councils for over three years an agreement has been reached which will see a community investment fund of £250,000 per year being distributed among the closest communities to the wind farm — Struan, Dunvegan, Minginish, Portree and Skeabost — to support a number of local initiatives, if the development is given the go-ahead. A yearly payment will also be allocated to the whole of Skye, and to the Highland Council. This amounts to £6.25 million over the lifetime of the project.

Crofter Angus Munro, chairperson of Ebost Grazings Committee, said: “We are delighted that following years of hard work on the project, Glen Ullinish has now received a recommendation for approval from planners. Glen Ullinish represents a massive opportunity for the local area and it is vital that the view of the local community is heard. The planners’ recommendation is the first step forward in making this potential investment in the Highlands a reality and we hope the Highland Council supports the application.”

Derek Ross, a director of Kilmac Construction, added: “We have worked in partnership with local crofters and community councils to determine the best way forward in meeting the needs of local communities in the area and we’ve been encouraged by the positive response to our proposals, with 54 representations of support for our application and only one objection. If consented, projections show Glen Ullinish could provide a minimum of 10 jobs for local people in Skye during the construction period and two full-time jobs in the area through the operational and maintenance phases, as well as the provision of local training and apprenticeship schemes.”