This is a photomontage visualisation of how the Quanterness Wind Farm may look from Hatston junction along the Kirkwall to Stromness road (A965).
Quanterness Wind Farm site layout map.
Quanterness Wind Farm site layout map (click to enlarge).

Quanterness is approximately 2.9km north-west of Orkney’s capital, Kirkwall, located on the main road from Kirkwall to Stromness (A965). Due to its proximity to Kirkwall and Hatston Pier, the Quanterness site has practical advantages and will likely be the first site to be developed.

The Quanterness project consists of six wind turbines of up to a maximum of 149.9 m height from ground to blade tip when vertical with 28.8MW capacity.

There would be a number of additional elements to the site, including a temporary construction compound, permanent hardstandings adjacent to the wind turbines for maintenance and decommissioning cranes, temporary laydown areas adjacent to the wind turbines, external transformers, internal access tracks, underground cables between turbines, an on-site substation and maintenance building and a permanent meteorological monitoring mast.

Access to the site would be directly from the A965 on the site’s southern boundary, via a new junction designed to meet relevant safety standards. The site has practical advantages and requires less survey work than other sites because it is the least ecologically sensitive.

Key facts:

  • The site extends to approximately 172.27 hectares (ha) and is centred on British National Grid (BNG) 341650, 1013600. It comprises pasture farmland, used for both livestock and crops and is divided into large regular fields, with a network of tracks. The site is generally flat, with Wideford Hill rising steeply to the south of the site.
  • There are no substantial watercourses onsite, although there are several field drains and several small ephemeral waterbodies in the site which are rain-water fed hollows.  
  • There are no residential properties within the site boundary. The closest residential properties are Quanterness Farm Cottages (132 m south of the site boundary), Quanterness Farm (370 m south of the site boundary), Harwood (433 m south of the site boundary) and Rennibister (1052 m west of the site boundary).

Planning permission for the project was submitted to the local planning authority in January 2020 and subsequently called in by the Scottish Government on our request. Planning consent was granted for the Quanterness wind farm in December 2021.

Challenges & Mitigations

To reduce potential impacts that may arise from the developments, measures will be put in place to mitigate challenges that have been identified through surveys and the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). The table below summarises some of the proposed challenges and mitigations that may arise throughout the construction and operational phases of the project:

Landscape & VisualVisual impact of the turbines on the surrounding area out to approximately 7km.

Shadow flicker.

There are residential properties to the south and west of the development.
• We’ve considered the visual impact of the development through the choice of site and the design of the turbine locations.

• A Shadow Flicker Protocol will be implemented before the wind turbines can be operational. Conditions will be put in place to mitigate this, for example, selective automatic shutdown of the turbines could be programmed where necessary.

• There are no landscape designations within the surrounding area or site boundary.
Ecology & OrnithologyEffect on local wildlife and birds during construction and operation including disturbance arising from construction and collision risks during operation.• Ecology and ornithology surveys have been undertaken.

• We’ll implement a Species Protection Plan and Habitat Management Plan.
Transport & TrafficIncreased traffic during construction.

Disruption to roads during abnormal loads delivery.
• A detailed analysis of the expected logistical requirements has been performed.

• We’ll agree a Construction Traffic Management Plan with Roads Services
NoiseIncreased noise during the construction period.

Noise disturbance during the operational phase of the turbines.
• The closest property is 132m from the site boundary, turbines have been located to ensure noise levels during operations remain within the guidance threshold.

• If the operational wind turbines exceed noise limits, we’d operate one or more turbines in ‘noise optimized mode’ which reduces noise outputs.

• We’ll produce a Construction Environmental Management Plan which would minimise noise and set out agreed working hours i.e. daytime only.
Site Specific Telecommunications links running through the site.

There are drainage ditches within the farmland.
• During the design process telecommunication providers were consulted to ensure that the layout did not impinge on any links.

• The Hydrologist and the Landowner fed in to the design process to ensure drainage ditches were suitably assessed.
Cultural & HeritageThere are two archaeological sites towards the east of the development.

There are potential setting effects on nearby cairns and brochs.
• We’ve placed a 100m protection buffer around the two sites and they’ll be protected during construction.

• Geophysical surveys will be carried out before construction begins to ensure there is no impact on unrecorded archaelogical sites.

Relevant publications for the Quanterness Community Wind Farm can be found here.