A CONTROVERSIAL Ross-shire wind farm which was granted approval in 2011 is now the subject of a fresh planning application because its new owners want to use different turbines to generate more electricity.
Preparatory work on the 19-turbine Corriemoillie Wind Farm near Garve is already underway, but updated consent is needed because EDF Energy Renewables plans to use turbines with a larger generating capacity.
The French energy firm acquired the wind farm project from E.ON Climate and Renewables UK Developments Limited last year.
It is due to form a larger cluster wind farm with the Lochluichart turbines which went into operation in 2014.
A couple of months after the takeover, EDF ER held a public information event to explain that it wanted to install different turbines to those proposed in the original plans.
This week the firm released a statement revealing that it had submitted a new planning application to the Scottish Government.
If the new consent is granted the generating capacity of the wind farm could be increased to above 50MW to a maximum of 60.8MW, which is enough to supply around 33,900 homes.
Contractors RJ McLeod started preparatory work on the site at the end of September last year and have been constructing access roads and the sub-station, with work on turbine foundations expected to commence shortly.
A liaison group to keep the local community informed about work on the site has also been formed.
Project manager Grant Folley said: "We held an information day last year to explain to the community our plans to use different turbines from those originally planned.
"Wind turbine technology has moved forward significantly since the project was originally granted permission in 2011. The efficiency of turbines has improved, meaning that machines of the same overall size can now generate more electricity than those previously on the market while making no visible difference to the development.
"Although we have just submitted the new planning application, we have been able to start work building the wind farm.
"Any changes to the capacity of the wind turbines can be carried out by a software upgrade and do not require any physical changes to machinery on site."
The turbines are due to be delivered to the site from Invergordon in July with the wind farm scheduled to be completed before the end of this year.