Extension plan for Skye wind farm

Turbines at nearby Ben Aketil, pic Willie Urquhart

Proposals for a two turbine extension to a wind farm in north west Skye are being revisited.

The seven turbine Ben Sca Wind Farm  – between Edinbane and Dunvegan – was approved by Highland Council in December 2020.

Developers Wind2 Ltd, on behalf of EDP Renewables, now want to site an install two more turbines – each 149.9 metres in tip height – to add to the seven, 135 metre structures that already have approval.

Their original plan had been for nine turbines, arranged in a single row, but this was reduced in response to concerns about the potential landscape impact of the turbines located on the higher slopes of Ben Sca.

However, the company has decided, after a review of the council’s feedback and other consultation responses, to try again for a revised project.

The extension proposal consists of two turbines located at the bottom of the consented row, on lower ground and within the forest, to “minimise landscape and visual impacts”.

The two additional turbines would be known as the Ben Sca Wind Farm Extension and would deliver  approximately an additional 8.4MW of installed capacity to the 29.4MW generated by the original scheme.

The company said that the two turbines would be bigger “in order to present a balanced design with the seven consented turbines and clear the tree canopy”.

The extension turbines would be accessed from the A850, sharing the site entrance and access tracks with the consented seven turbines and the existing 12-turbine Ben Aketil Wind Farm.

With a further 18-turbine development already in place and run by Vattenfall at Edinbane, the Ben Sca project would take the number of turbines in the area to 39.

Meanwhile, Muirhall Energy are also pursuing a project that could eventually see 60 turbines built at Glen Ullinish, on the Bracadale estate.

The proposed Ben Sca extension would have the potential to generate sufficient renewable energy to meet the needs of over 8,000 homes and contribute an additional £42,000 per annum to the community benefit fund provided by the project.

The community benefit fund will offer those living within 4km of the wind farm the opportunity to reduce their energy bills or contribute towards home energy efficiency improvements.

The project will also consider contributions to a potential Skye-wide fund to ensure that benefits are realised across the island.

If consented, the two additional turbines would also form part of the community share ownership offering that was discussed with the local development trusts and Local Energy Scotland in early 2019.

This offers the local community the opportunity to invest in the project whereby the community would receive up to five per cent  of the project’s net profit after tax in return for their investment.

Due to the proximity to the end of the year, the planning application will be advertised in the local press in early January 2022, to allow the public consultation period to take place without being interrupted by the festive period.