Crofters on the Isle of Skye have welcomed the Highland Council’s decision to grant consent for the Glen Ullinish Wind Farm.
Kilmac Construction, who are working in close partnership with local crofters on the project, submitted the application for the proposed 14 turbine Glen Ullinish Wind Farm to The Highland Council in October 2014.
The development is to be located between Ose and Struan at Allt Dughaill on the Isle of Skye.
The North Planning Applications Committee today (Tuesday 24th March) unanimously granted consent for the 14 turbine scheme.
The Scottish Government, as the owners of the land, are supporting the partnership approach being taken between Kilmac Construction and local crofters, and the consented development will be able to generate 42 MW, the equivalent of generating enough electricity to supply 23,000 homes per year.
Kilmac Construction, one of Scotland’s leading civil engineering and renewable energy contractors, who will deliver and construct the development are intent on opening a new office in Inverness to embrace the growing business opportunities in the Highland region. The total capital construction costs of the development are estimated at over £55m, with circa £5m likely to go to the local contractors, which will deliver significant benefit to the local economy, in particular the construction and manufacturing sectors.
After engaging with the five local community councils for over three years, which included holding two public information days at the village hall at Dunvegan, an agreement was reached which will see a community investment fund of £250,000 per year, being distributed among the closest communities to the windfarm, namely Struan, Dunvegan, Minginish, Portree and Skeabost to support a number of local initiatives if the development is given the go-ahead. A yearly payment will also be allocated to the whole of the Isle of Skye, and The Highland Council. This amounts to £6.25m over the lifetime of the project, and would allow the communities themselves to decide how best to realise the opportunities provided by Glen Ullinish Wind Farm. In addition, the proposal would allow for investment into upgrading the electricity line for Skye which would secure the electricity supply and create a significant number of jobs throughout the Highlands region.
Angus Munro, Crofter and Chairperson of the "Ebost Grazings Committee" said: “We are delighted that following years of hard work on the project Glen Ullinish has now been consented by the Highland Council. Glen Ullinish represents a massive opportunity for our community and the wider local area. We are glad that our elected members have listened to the local community and supported us in growing our local economy."
Derek Ross, Director of Kilmac Construction said: “We welcome today's decision by the North Planning Applications Committee to consent Glen Ullinish. We are glad that the Council has recognised the potential economic and social benefits to the local communities and the local economy that the project will bring. We will now be able to grow our business from our headquarters in Perth into the Highland region. Glen Ullinish could now provide a minimum of ten jobs for local people in Skye during the construction period, two full time jobs in the area through the operational and maintenance phases, as well as the provision of local training and apprenticeship schemes.”
Angela Wilson, Operations Manager, at Energy North, said: “We support the Glen Ullinish proposal as the wind farm offers a potential economic boost to the Highlands, and Kilmac Construction’s willingness to work with local communities and companies to enhance local economy is a fantastic opportunity for the region. Kilmac Construction is committed to ensure that these contracts are placed with as many local companies as possible, thus providing long term support to existing employment within the area, as well as providing new opportunities for companies to expand.”