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Hollandmey Renewable Energy Development - Site overview, key facts and development process

The proposed Site boundary is shown below:

View a larger version of the map above

The application boundary included within our initial leaflet distributed to all properties within 10km of the Site on 03 August 2020 has been extended to include land to the southeast. As with the remainder of the Site, this area has been the subject of environmental surveys, initial assessments and design. Although this Site boundary map differs to the map shown on scoping documentation and the initial information leaflet, the methodology proposed in those documents will be applied to this area as well.

Work Undertaken to Date

SPR already has a good understanding of the Site due to the wealth of data gathered to date, ranging from feasibility assessments to a programme of ornithology surveys.

The identification of environmental and physical constraints is particularly important at the start of any RED Project as this helps to define a potentially developable area for project infrastructure.

We are now beginning the process of assessing the findings from surveys completed to date. This information, together with results from remaining surveys and comments from the online exhibition and key consultee feedback, will help to further refine the design if required. The proposed Development layout is shown below:

View a larger version of the map above

Key project details


10 wind turbines with a maximum height to blade tip of 149.9 metres


Generating capacity of around 65 megawatts, from turbines and solar panels


Energy Storage Facility with a storage capacity of around 15 megawatts


Generating enough electricity to supply the equivalent of over 37,000* UK homes.

* using the formula described on the RUK website, 50 MW installed capacity x 0.3114 “all wind” load factor x 8,760 hours / 3.618 MWh annual consumption = 37,698 homes powered equivalent. Number of homes equivalent is subject to change with the additional of solar on the site.

Site design considerations

The Site is located approximately 8 km southwest of John o’ Groats and 16 km east of Thurso, situated within the north eastern part of the Caithness area of the Highlands. The Site was chosen for a number of reasons including:

  • The excellent wind resource on site which means good wind speeds for energy generation;
  • There are no national or international nature designations within the area identified for development;
  • The Site is in close proximity to transport and grid connections and benefits from an existing commercial forestry track network.

Initial feasibility and design work indicates that the Site has the potential to accommodate around 10 wind turbines of up to 149.9 metres to blade tip and an associated energy storage facility with solar park. The design will look to find an appropriate balance between optimising the energy yield and minimising the environmental effects. This will be important to maximise the contribution the proposed Development would make to the Scottish Government’s renewable energy and climate change targets, and the response to the climate emergency.

The final design of the Development will be established through an iterative process which will take into account the identification of all technical and environmental constraints determined through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, through consultation with statutory and non-statutory organisations and members of the local community. 

In addition to the wind turbines, the proposed Development will include solar panels and an energy storage facility. This will be used to store the green electricity produced by the wind turbines and solar panels, and could be used to smooth out variances between available resource and electricity demand. It can also be used to provide services to help stabilise the operation of the local electricity network.

Construction of the proposed Development is anticipated to commence in 2023 and will take approximately 22 months.

There is no proposal to limit the lifetime of the proposed Development. Therefore, the assessment of potential effects on all aspects will consider the operational phase of the proposed Development without time limitations.

As a result of this feasibility and design work, key constraints were identified and a proposed Site layout was identified with respect to these constraints.

The proposed Site layout in the context of these constraints is shown below:

View a larger version of the map above

Development and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process 

Initial Site investigation and design

Initial Site viability and project feasibility assessment

EIA scope consultations: Summer 2020

Identifying and agreeing with stakeholders what aspects and potential effects of the development should be covered by the EIA

Public engagement: Summer 2020

A leaflet was mailed to all properties within 10km of the Site introducing the concept of the development

Onsite and desktop surveys: ongoing

Research to establish what the conditions of the Site are today, this will allow the effects of the predicted changes to be assessed.

Public Consultation: Autumn 2020

The current Public Information Event

Design evolution and environmental assessment: currently ongoing

Iterative process to optimise the design to achieve balance between Site performance and environmental effects.

It also seeks to identify measures to eliminate, avoid, reduce or mitigate any potentially significant effects where possible.

Public engagement

The application to build and operate the development will be submitted to the Scottish Ministers, known as a Section 36 application. There will then be a period of consultation where members of the public will have the right to make representations on the development proposal

Submission of Application for Consent We will submit an application to the Scottish Ministers for determination under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.  

Evaluation and determination of the application

The Section 36 application will be administered by the Scottish Government Energy Consents Unit (ECU) on behalf of Scottish Ministers. There will be an opportunity at this stage for you to make formal representations on the application to the ECU. These will then be taken into account by Scottish Ministers when determining whether to grant consent for the proposed Development. Timescales for determination are variable and dependent upon case-specific issues but typically take between 12 to 15 months.

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