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Appeal lodged for Tom nan Clach Wind Farm Repowering

Nanclach Limited, the joint venture between renewable energy company Infinergy and Cawdor Estate, has lodged an appeal against The Highland Council South Planning Committee’s refusal of the redesign proposals for the Tom nan Clach Wind Farm.

Following the decision to refuse the Repowering application, going against Officer Recommendation and the advice of all statutory consultees, Nanclach Limited has submitted an appeal to the Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA). The new proposal looks to utilise recent technology gains to help increase the renewable energy output from the site by 26% while reducing turbine numbers from 17 to 13. However, Councillors, who refused the original Tom nan Clach Wind Farm which was subsequently granted on appeal in 2013, refused to take into consideration the considerable positive benefits the redesign would deliver, not to mention the cost of another public inquiry to an already cash-strapped authority, and chose to refuse the scheme on similar visual impact grounds as the original refusal.

Tom nan Clach Wind Farm currently has consent for 17 turbines, each with an installed capacity of 2.3MW, but a grid connection date of 2018. Wind turbine technology and design principles have evolved and improved a great deal in the last three years and so, given the time available between consent and connection to the grid, the site has been subject to further research and environmental studies. An application to ‘repower’ with 13 slightly larger turbines, but the same overall installed capacity of 39MW was made to The Highland Council in August last year.

Esbjorn Wilmar, Managing Director of Infinergy commented: “We feel that the Highland Council has got this decision wrong. By utilising new design and technology, this redesign not only provides an opportunity to greatly increase the renewable electricity generated on the site by approximately 26%, but reduces the number of turbines and infrastructure required. This means that nearly 20,000 more homes could be supplied with renewable energy as well as a further 15,000 tonnes of CO2 being saved per year of operation, which is expected to be 25 years. I am still at a loss to understand why, during the debate in the chamber, the councillors did not consider these positive benefits at all, particularly considering this is an already consented site which can be improved enormously through this proposal. With the positive milestone of signing the Paris agreement, it is sometimes hard to see how we can deliver on the local level.”

The application documents for the Tom nan Clach Wind Farm Repowering are available to download at the dedicated project website www.tomnanclachwindfarm.co.uk.

Appeal details can be found on the DPEA website.