The scoping request for the Ourack Wind Energy Project has been made to the Scottish Government which will consult with organisations like Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and The Highland Council to identify potential significant effects.
The research programme, known as Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), is a formal process to assess the potential for significant effects associated with a wind energy project like Ourack. The EIA will enable Edinburgh-based Vattenfall to further explore the potential of the project by conducting a full and comprehensive research programme for the 30 sq. km site which is located around 6km north of Grantown-on-Spey.
Vattenfall will consult with local residents and community interests on an outline proposal after the results of the EIA have been assessed ahead of a possible planning application to the Scottish Government in late 2016.
Frank Park, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for the Ourack Wind Energy Project, said: “Our scoping request to the Scottish Government will lead to a major research programme that assesses potential significant effects on the local environment, landscape and economic infrastructure. As a result of the research programme decisions by relevant authorities on the acceptability of the Ourack Wind Energy Project will be based on the gathered evidence.
“We are making no assumptions about the site or scale of the proposed scheme until detailed analysis becomes available. However, for the purposes of an EIA, a theoretical scope of up to 50 turbines has been provided as part of the submission to help ensure that as wide an area as possible is fully explored.”
Vattenfall started to talk to local people about a potential wind farm and an associated multi-million pound investment fund in January this year.
In Scotland, Vattenfall already operates the 18-turbine Edinbane Wind Farm on the Isle of Skye and the recently completed 18-turbine Clashindarroch Wind Farm in Aberdeenshire.