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Energy company 'encouraged' by support for Cairnmore Hill wind farm


By Alan Hendry

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An energy company planning a wind farm north-west of Thurso says it has been encouraged by the level of local support for the project.

RES is seeking permission from Highland Council for an eight-turbine development at Cairnmore Hill, near Hill of Forss quarry.

It says the wind farm would provide enough renewable electricity for around 37,000 homes.

The maximum tip height of the turbines would be 138.5m.

RES points out that the wind farm has been through several design iterations and two sets of community consultation events.

The company claims it has seen an increasing level of support, with 60 per cent of comment forms at a recent consultation event stating that people were "happy" with the updated layout.

If approved, Cairnmore Hill could deliver around £12 million in business rates to Highland Council over its operational life, and has the potential to deliver approximately £2.2 million of economic benefit to the local area, according to RES.

Its senior development manager Graeme Kerr said: “We’ve been really grateful for the comments and feedback received from the community during our exhibition events and it’s encouraging to see the growing support.

Senior development manager Graeme Kerr says RES has been grateful for the feedback it has received.
Senior development manager Graeme Kerr says RES has been grateful for the feedback it has received.

"We’ve also been working with the local supply chain in order to understand the skills and capabilities within Caithness and to maximise inward investment from the project wherever possible, should it be consented.”

Local businessman Alan Gow, owner of Gow Groundworks, has given his backing to the proposal.

He said: “As a Caithness company that employs over 30 people, we’ve witnessed first-hand how important wind farm projects like this are to the local economy. They provide a significant boost to local businesses, particularly during construction, and have positiveknock-on effects all the way through the wider Caithness supply chain.

"It’s great to see a project like Cairnmore Hill going into planning as it will bring a much-needed economic boost to the area and local businesses if consented.”

RES has delivered more than 18GW of renewable energy projects around the world. It employs more than 2500 people and is active in 10 countries.

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