Proposed 100 MW of wind plant for Orkney islands

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Over 100 MW of wind plant is proposed for the Orkney islands north of Scotland in a new Anglo Norwegian joint venture. Electricity generator Statkraft of Norway has joined forces with local firm Fairwind (Orkney) Ltd to develop between 35 to 40 wind turbines. The new company, Fairwind Statkraft (Orkney) Ltd, will be looking at multiple sites rather than a single wind farm, says its chairman, Dennis Gowland, previously from Fairwind. He says the new partnership will be working alongside local planners and stakeholders to identify suitable sites. "We are not parachuting in with speculative plans. We have to be part of the island community." The wind project will require a new transmission link to the mainland which will also have capacity for marine renewables to be developed in the islands. "A new cable is vital if we're to unblock the log jam that currently prevents the sort of large scale renewable energy developments that would bring so many benefits to Orkney," he says. A partner with financial muscle is a must, adds Gowland. Statkraft is also involved in planned wind projects on the UK mainland, including a 450 MW offshore wind farm. Fairwind retains a significant stake in the new company, says Gowland, "and will be the conduit for local investment and stakeholding." Bjorn Saga of Statkraft says the project is challenging. It is dependent on a sufficient number of sites being identified from Orkney Islands Council's work on a planning framework for renewable energy developments, he says. "Before we can embark upon the significant and costly work of preparing a full development plan, we must be sure that the grid connection can be made on satisfactory economic terms."

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