Orkney Islands Council is developing Orkney Community Wind Farms to harness Orkney’s natural resources while bringing much needed funds into the island’s economy. Once in production, the wind farms would generate significant income and community benefit, empowering communities across Orkney while minimising cuts to essential services in the wake of the country’s economic crisis. All profit would stay in the islands, enabling the Council to preserve and enhance key services that local people value and depend upon and providing a foundation for communities to drive transformational projects of their own.
The project will also contribute to Orkney’s Net Zero aspirations. Orkney Islands Council declared a climate emergency alongside other organisations in 2019, and is committed to reducing our carbon emissions. Orkney Community Wind Farms will help us achieve that target.
The wind farms will consist of three developments – Hoy, Faray and Quanterness. Quanterness and Hoy received planning permission in December 2021 while Faray’s planning permission was approved in December 2022. All three sites received planning consent from Scottish Ministers.
Each proposed wind farm will contain six turbines that are 149.9 metres in height from base to blade tip and produce nearly 90MW per year. The project will make an essential contribution to a new 220MW cable linking Orkney to the Scottish Mainland which was approved by Ofgem in July 2023.
All three developments are substantial, and the turbines are of a height not used in Orkney before (almost 150m to blade tip). The projects therefore present a number of challenges – not least the visual impact – and these must be weighed against the potential benefits from the project. A final investment decision will be made by elected members of Orkney Islands Council which is expected to take place in 2024.