Caplich Wind Farm


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Project Details

Organisation Name: Caplich Wind Farm
Contact Name: Peter Marshall
Contact Email: peter@muirhallenergy.co.uk

Caplich Wind Farm is a 20 turbine, 68MW proposal currently under consideration by the Scottish Government. The development is 5km north of Oykel bridge and 10km west of Rosehall in Sutherland.

Muirhall Energy is in discussion with community councils of Creich, Ardgay and District, Assynt, Lairg and Lochbroom. If consent is granted for the wind farm, the community councils will be invited to invest in a share of up to 10% of the wind farm company.

The 10% share of the wind farm company which is available will be split between community councils. The shared ownership offer is not related to and will not affect other community benefit measures including a community benefit fund of £5,000 per Megawatt of installed capacity and a recreational enhancement fund for the improvement of tourism amenities.

Muirhall Energy is seeking to agree the structure for shared ownership and will formalise the financial terms once the wind farm design is finalised and agreed through planning consent.

Project Details

The development is currently in planning with a full application for consent submitted under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 in January 2015. Survey work at the site has been ongoing since May 2012 with a scoping report submitted in April 2014.

The development is 68MW in capacity. This is achieved through a 20 turbine layout with the candidate turbine being a Senvion 3.4 M104. The turbines will have a base to blade tip height of 132m and an installed capacity of 3.4MW.  There is not yet an estimated capacity factor for the site but we expect to achieve above the UK average of 27.9%[1]

The capital cost for the development is estimated at £81.7m[2]. The development costs for taking the project to financial close are not yet known due to the uncertainty in the planning process and the potential requirement to budget for an appeal.

Up to 10% of the wind farm company is available for equity investment. We are currently in talks with five community councils who have expressed interest in investing in the wind farm.

We have released press statements and have featured on several occasions in the Northern Times and the Press and Journal. Press articles have either been in response to the offer of shared ownership or made specific reference to it.

We have been working with community councils and development trusts since early 2014 and through ongoing discussions, we have agreed that the developer / community partnership will include for shared ownership, a community benefit fund and a recreational enhancement fund.

In addition to this, we have allocated £20,000 from our development budget to tackling fuel poverty in the area. Several community councils and local groups are working towards this end and we have been delighted to have been part of this. The fuel poverty promotion comprises a contribution towards the cost of logs as fuel wood or match funding towards home insulation materials. The promotion has been open to residents within the five participating community council areas and is run from October 2014 until March 2015. We have advertised this promotion as well as the wind farm plans within local news channels and the regional press.

Community councils participating in the shared ownership offer will be invited to invest in shares following planning consent. This recognises that the design of the wind farm is subject to change during the planning process and in response to the comments received from consultees and the general public. We are therefore unable to provide specific information on the investment structure including the level of investment sought and the potential returns. However we are collaborating with community councils to agree a set of principles and we are in the process of writing these into a Memorandum of Understanding.

The submission of the application for consent has been publicised in the local and national press. The consultation period will run from 30th January until 2nd March 2015.

The full application for consent can be viewed on The Highland Council’s planning portal at:

http://wam.highland.gov.uk/wam/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=NIJD2GIH09A00

Alternatively, printed copies of the application are available at the following locations:

Bonar Bridge Library Service Point

Carnegie Building, Lairg Road, Bonar Bridge, IV24 3EA

Monday to Friday 10:00 - 12:30, including 14:30 - 17:00 on Monday and 17:30 - 20:00 on Thursday

Lairg Service Point

Police Station, Main Street, Lairg, IV27 4DB

Monday to Friday 9.30am-1pm

Ullapool Service Point

North Road, Ullapool, IV26 2XL

Monday to Friday 9.30am-1pm

Additional copies are available at Rosehall, Elphin, Lochinver, Golspie, Inverness and Edinburgh. Local communities have been notified of these locations, some of which are opened by special request.

Printed copies of the application are available at a charge of £5 for a Non-technical Summary or £250 for the full Environmental Statement.

Timescales

The full application for consent has been submitted in January 2015. In the very best case scenario, the application could be determined within six months (July 2015), though this is not expected. If achieved, we will look to formalise the structure of shared ownership as quickly as possible. It should be recognised however that the determination such applications can take significantly longer, often several years and occasionally require an appeal process.

We will continue discussions in the interim with a view to concluding a memorandum of understanding with each participating community council.

 


[1] The long term average load factor for onshore wind in Scotland: 27.9%. Department of Energy & Climate Change Published: 25 September 2014. (Accessed 10/11/2014. Available from URL: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/357159/Regional_spreadsheets__2008-2013__-_UC_LFs_-_September_2014.xls
[2] BiGGAR Economics, Onshore Wind – Direct and Wider Economic Impacts, published by DECC and Renewable UK, 2012.