Published: 11/07/2013 14:23 - Updated: 11/07/2013 14:51

New Ross wind farm proposal

Plans have been lodged for a six-turbine scheme near Dingwall (file picture)
Plans have been lodged for a six-turbine scheme near Dingwall (file picture)

A COMPANY with plans for signifgicant investment in the Highlands has flagged proposals for a six-turbine wind farm near Dingwall.

ABO Wind UK, whose parent company is based in Germany, has lodged plans for a test mast at Woodlands Farm.

Representatives of a number of Ross-shire community councils were this week given an initial briefing over the proposals - for which the company would like to lodge a full planning application by the end of the year.

ABO Wind UK has already developed a three-turbine wind farm at Lairg in Sutherland which has been fully operational since January last year.

With an office base now established in Inverness, the company has signalled it is now ready to move ahead with the second stage of its multimillion-pound investment in the Highlands.

The proposed development site, where a scheme for up to six turbines is being considered, lies on rough grazing land behind the Cnoc a’ Bhreacaich hill and is, says the firm, visually secluded from Dingwall to the south.

The site is in the top rated “Stage Three - Area of Search” for wind energy development, as designated by the Highland Council.

The company, a subsidiary of one of Europe’s most experienced wind energy developers, opened its Highland base in Inverness earlier this year. It has revealed plans to invest around £390 million in five wind farm proposals for the Highlands over the next three years.

Clark Crosbie, ABO’s project manager for Woodlands Farm said: “We opened our Inverness office in April to establish a base for our investments in the Highlands. We’ve had a number of discussions with Highland Council about the Woodlands Farm site and we’re now ready to move the project forward.

“As part of the process we have this week submitted a planning application to erect a temporary single meteorological mast, designed to measure the wind speeds in the area.

"We’ve also  requested a scoping opinion from The Highland Council to identify the scope and content of the environmental impact assessment study that will need to be undertaken, which will help us to evaluate the suitability of the site and inform the design of the potential wind farm at this location.

“In addition we will be undertaking an extensive consultation programme with those living in the area around Evanton, Dingwall and the Black Isle to explain the benefits the wind farm will bring to the local community.

“If all goes well we’d anticipate lodging a planning application before the end of this year.”

Parent company, ABO Wind AG is based in Germany and have been developing, constructing, operating and maintaining wind farms globally for 16 years.

They have a background in community development and that is a policy they want to develop in the UK.

The company anticipates its Highland projects will generate over £32 million in community benefit, if all are approved.

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