In March 2021 we held our first session of online community engagement which asked for feedback on a draft wind farm layout. In addition to receiving questions and comments through the consultation website, we also received valuable feedback by phone and post. We would like to thank everyone who contributed throughout this process. All comments are being considered as the design and the layout for the wind farm evolves.
In response to the most frequently received comments and questions, we generated this document to help share our answers. We have also produced a Consultation Report which provides more detail on the engagement activity and responses, as well as the next steps in our local engagement.
We welcome your questions and comments at any time - you can do this using the Feedback Form.
One of the most common questions we are asked when developing our projects is 'Why here?".
Statkraft's Head of Business and Project Development will help answer this question at a webinar on Tuesday, 29 June at 10am.
During the webinar Richard Mardon will take us behind the scenes of the development process, with a step by step guide on the challenges faced in finding the best sites to maximise Scotland's excellent natural wind resource. There will also be the opportunity to ask questions.
Register, and find out more by clicking here.
The event is being recorded and the link will be available shortly afterwards.
Thank you to all residents and interested groups who took the time to visit our online consultation regarding our plans for Craig Watch Wind Farm between 5 - 31 March. View the consultation brochure
We are now in the process of assessing and responding to all feedback received. Please note that anyone who returned one of our freepost reply cards, and didn't tick the "keep me updated" box means we are unable to respond directly, due to GDPR legislation. We will update our FAQ section to cover most of the issues raised, but if you have a question that isn't listed, please contact us.
We appreciated all feedback, which included positive, neutral and negative comments. The feedback helps us shape the final design of the project. We are still at the design phase of the project, and we still encourage your questions and comments on the proposal. Ask A Question
We are pleased to announce the online consultation for our proposed Craig Watch Wind Farm has commenced.
Over 1,300 residences and businesses within 10km of the site have been invited to attend, and advertisements placed in seven newspapers including the Northern Scot, Huntly Express, the Press and Journal and the locally distributed Speirins newsletter.
The proposals are at an early stage - our initial studies showed the potential for 18 turbines, up to 200m to blade tip. We have since reduced our plans to 16 turbines as a result of ongoing environmental studies.
As part of our pre-application consultation, we are hosting an online consultation on a dedicated website between 5 - 31 March. This will enable residents and other interested parties to provide feedback via the website, by telephone or in writing.
The online consultation will include two live chat sessions:
Monday 15 March between 2pm - 4pm, and Wednesday 24 March between 4pm - 6pm.
John Wallace, Project Manager, said: "We have a history of engaging early with local communities and have confidence that we can still do that despite face-to-face meetings not being possible at this time due to Covid-19.
We believe that proactive community consultation is an integral element of the planning process and it is essential that the local community and other stakeholders be given the opportunity to view the proposals and provide feedback and ask questions directly to the project team.
Although we are disappointed that we can't meet face-to-face, we look forward to welcoming people to our online consultation, and in particular, our two live chat sessions."
This project website will be kept updated with news as the development progresses, and it is expected that a second consultation event will be held later in 2021, before the plans are finalised.
We are pleased to submit a Scoping Request to the Scottish Government to progress our plans for Craig Watch Wind Farm. The proposals are at an early stage and the Scoping Request to the Scottish Government seeks to continue our investigations and receive early feedback from consultees.
Recent discussions have taken place with the Energy Consents Unit, who confirmed capacity to take forward the application, and we are following Scottish Government advice throughout all of our work in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that there are more important matters due to the current health emergency but we are continuing, where possible, our daily working activity and continuing our investment plans for Scotland.
The proposals for Craig Watch Wind Farm are at an early stage of the design process. We think there is potential for up to 18 turbines up to 200m high. The proposals may reduce in scale as our environmental consultants progress their studies and feedback is received from statutory consultees and the local community.
Read the project summary.
We are enthusiastic about bringing meaningful benefits to local communities. We believe we are the only wind farm developer that has pledged to commission feasibility studies to assess the potential to bring improved access to broadband as part of our projects. We look forward to discussing that in more detail with you.
Despite this project being subsidy-free, we are also committed to delivering £5,000 per MW installed in community benefit funding.
We have a history of engaging with the community, and have confidence that we can still do that despite face-to-face meetings not being possible at this time. We welcome the opportunity to speak with local residents and community groups by phone or video call at an appropriate time to outline our proposals in more detail, introduce some of the team and receive any early feedback.
Please Register for project updates, or get in touch with your questions or comments.
Wildfires which devastated much of the Moray countryside in the north of Scotland last year have led to increased environmental benefits being proposed by Europe’s largest renewable energy producer.
Work on Statkraft’s proposed extension to the Berry Burn Wind Farm, near Forres, has been shortlisted for the Outstanding Project Award, at the Scottish Renewables ‘Green Energy Awards’. In April 2019, a catastrophic wildfire spread throughout the site causing damage to precious habitats and threatening the project all together. The fire burnt for over a week and it took some time to ensure that peat fires were extinguished, and safe access could be allowed.
Unfortunately, the habitats and vegetation across a large area - including the entire proposed extension area – were utterly devastated.
Experts from ecological consultancy Avian Ecology worked tirelessly to ensure the project could continue by working with NatureScot (formerly Scottish Natural Heritage) and the local community to find ways to restore and then enhance the biodiversity of the site.
Avian Ecology mapped out an engagement approach, with a high emphasis on early and on-going consultation with NatureScot to deliver an innovative habitat management plan that would bring a biodiversity net gain to the fire-damaged area, helping to turn around the catastrophe. In addition, they proposed measures to prevent the spreading of future wildfires, reducing the chance of such extensive damage reoccurring. The plan was carefully designed so as to provide improved peatland habitats for wildlife and carbon storage, providing clear benefits over and above those already in place for the operational Berry Burn Wind Farm.
That work has now been recognised for its quality with the shortlisting for the prestigious Green Energy Awards.
Mícheál Ó Broin, Senior Development Manager at Statkraft said: “Avian Ecology has exceeded our expectations. Their innovative ideas to minimise impacts to the natural environment is paramount in this industry as we work towards our ambitious net-zero target. We are delighted that this project partnership is getting the recognition it deserves.”
Howard Fearn, Director at Avian Ecology Limited said: “The devastating wildfire of April 2019 significantly impeded our normal process to survey and assess ecological impacts of the proposed extension. An entirely new approach was required, and we recognised this as an opportunity to increase the environmental benefits the project could deliver. It required innovative thinking and a close-working relationship with NatureScot. The wind farm extension would enable a significant biodiversity gain through improving peat habitats, accelerating recovery from fire damage and reducing damage from future wildfires.”
Due to Covid-19, this year’s Awards event will be held online on Thursday 26 November.