Stantec, a global leader in sustainable engineering and design, recently supported integrated energy company, Vattenfall, with planning and environmental services for its Ourack wind farm project. Stantec, as planning agent and EIA lead, submitted the planning application to Scottish Ministers in October 2022.
The scheme, which will include 18 turbines with a blade tip height of 180m, is expected to generate enough energy to power the equivalent of 64,000 homes using low-cost renewable electricity. Carbon calculations prepared to support the planning submission suggest the project could cut the region’s carbon emissions by as much as 160,000 tonnes every year - equating to 5.5 million tonnes over the project’s 35-year lifespan.
Stantec managed the planning process, preparation of the planning application and community development strategy. The firm also co-ordinated the project’s environmental impact assessment. Local communities were at the centre of an iterative design process and following extensive consultation Stantec helped Vattenfall to successfully develop a project that can be built, run and decommissioned as sustainably as possible.
Working with landscape consultants at WSP, a landscape design strategy for the project was implemented to inform the layout and positioning of the turbines within the site. As a result, once built the visual effects from the turbines will largely be contained within the natural topography of the Strathdearn Hills.
Ultimately, the proposal now maintains the integrity of the Drynachan, Lochindorb and Dava Moors Special Landscape Area, within which the project is located, and minimises potential impacts on Cairngorms National Park, while maximising renewable energy generation. In tandem with the landscape led design process, Stantec’s EIA and planning team worked extensively with technical teams to reduce environmental impacts on peatland habitats, watercourses, deep peat, topography, residential amenity and archaeological interests.
Alison Daugherty, Project Manager at Vattenfall commented: “The Stantec team were appointed to undertake a range of assessments for the Ourack Wind Farm, as well as co-ordinate the compilation of the overall planning application and EIA. The Stantec team have proven to be professional, knowledgeable, approachable and reliable in their delivery.”
Robert Chamberlain, Senior Environmental Planner at Stantec commented: “Onshore wind is an essential part of the UK’s energy mix and the country’s journey towards a low-carbon economy. In our view, this project delivers an appropriate balance between responding to the climate emergency through maximising renewable energy generation, whilst respecting environmental sensitivities. We need to make sure that these projects are minimally disruptive, physically, visually, and environmentally, throughout their entire lifecycle.”
The Ourack wind farm is currently being considered by Scottish Ministers and consultees.
For more information about the project, visit: https://group.vattenfall.com/uk/what-we-do/our-projects/ourack
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