Consent secured for Highlands wind farm and co-located battery energy storage system

Consent secured for Highlands wind farm and co-located battery energy storage system

The Kirkan Wind Farm site with the operational Corriemoillie Wind Farm in the background

Planning permission has been secured for a new wind farm in the Highlands that will feature a co-located battery energy storage system.

Located in the Garve district in the Ross and Cromarty region, just south of the A835, Kirkan Wind Farm comprises 17 wind turbines with a maximum height to blade tip of 175m. Each turbine is expected to produce up to 4.8 MW of power to create a total of just under 82 MW. This would generate enough energy to serve around 85,000 households each year.

It is anticipated that emissions savings would be in the region of 3,057,990 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the lifetime of the project.

The project is being led by a partnership between Coriolis Energy and ESB. RSK Environment was tasked with completing the environmental impact assessment (EIA). RSK Group companies have also supplied archaeological services (Headland Archaeology), hydrogeology and peat risk assessment services (Water Research Centre), forestry/felling advisory services (ADAS), transport/traffic impact assessment services (SCP) and biodiversity net gain advice (RSK Wilding).

RSK was also responsible for managing the consent process and application, responding to stakeholder queries and submitting supplementary environmental information to help the Energy Consents Unit of the Scottish Government make its decision on the application.

RSK director and the EIA project manager for the scheme, Joe Somerville, said the primary challenges associated with this upland moorland site were a combination of deep peat deposits and potential impacts on the surrounding landscape, visual receptors and landmarks. He said these were ultimately overcome by making sure the wind farm design focused on sustainability and minimising the impacts on these aspects of the environment, while also taking account of technical and commercial requirements. Consent was granted on 25 July 2023.

Joe said: “This proposed development is one of the first wind farms in the UK co-located with a battery energy storage system to gain consent. This means that not only does the proposal potentially add significantly to the energy decarbonisation of Scotland and the UK, but it can also contribute to reducing energy curtailment, where energy being produced would otherwise be lost due to the grid being ‘full’, and providing grid stability.”

Coriolis Energy development project manager for the scheme, Trevor Hunter, added: “It was incredibly useful to be able to draw on RSK’s wide range of disciplines as part of a complex renewable energy project. Their dedication and expertise have played a pivotal role in securing a successful result for the Kirkan project, for which we are tremendously grateful.

“Of course, we need many more such projects to contribute to our legally binding targets as well, increasing energy security and lowering energy bills, so it is ever more important that projects like Kirkan are given proportionate, fair and efficient consideration and processing by all relevant stakeholders and decision-makers.”

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