Following the decision by The Highland Council not to object to the variation of the existing planning consent in December, Scottish Ministers have approved the application. Highland councillors voted unanimously to allow the Limekiln project variation application to move to the final decision-making stage with the Scottish Government Ministers on the basis that two of the 21 turbines be removed from the wind farm at Limekiln, south of Reay in Caithness. The variation also included a revised track design, allowing improved access during the construction works to the core path network and an increase in tip heights to unlock full wind potential and proper alignment with the neighbouring consented Limekiln Wind Farm Extension project.
Esbjörn Wilmar, Managing Director of Infinergy said: “I am delighted that The Scottish Ministers have supported the view of The Highland Council with this decision. The revised scheme will see increased benefits to the local area, not only in terms of access around the site but in terms of increased community benefits. The communities of Caithness are some of those most in need of such benefits in the country. In addition, Limekiln will make a valid contribution not only to the fight against climate change, but importantly at this time, the energy security of this country as a whole.”
More energy produced despite fewer turbines
“While we are looking to improve the track design, we are also looking to increase the energy yield from the windfarm by increasing tip heights in line with our Limekiln Extension project and applying state-of-the-art turbine technology. Even with two less turbines, this variation will still allow us to generate more renewable energy than the existing consented scheme.” continued Mr Wilmar. “Now that both Limekin projects have been consented, they will be built as one development. This will reduce the overall disruption during the construction stage. The increase in energy production and further optimizing the design of the site will also enhance the economics of the projects.”
Limekiln Wind Farm at a glance
Enabling works have already been completed following the original 2019 Limekiln Wind Farm consent and onsite felling continued last year to ensure the site is set to promptly move forward again. Delaying the main construction contracts allowed the separate forestry work to proceed unhindered. The operational date for Limekiln Wind Farm is expected to be late 2024 at the earliest. Together with the Limekiln Extension proposal, the wind farm has a grid connection contract in place for 106 MW.
Limekiln Wind Farm comes with the industry standard community benefit fund of £5,000 per MW of installed capacity, equating to almost £400,000 per year (based on 4.2 MW turbines). In addition, up to 10% of the project will be made available to the local community as a shared ownership opportunity, giving the potential to increase the economic value of the wind farm across Caithness.
Infinergy and Boralex announced the execution of a 50-50 joint venture agreement in October 2017, aimed at developing a pipeline of onshore wind projects, including the Limekiln Wind Farm project, essentially located in Scotland for a total estimated capacity of 325 MW.