A planning application supported by an Environmental Statement (ES) was submitted to the Scottish Government in May 2008. The application and the accompanying ES were the results of extensive studies, assessments and surveys which were carried out between February 2006 – April 2008.
The site was originally identified as a suitable site for large scale wind energy development in 2003-2004 when Infinergy scanned the whole of the UK looking for suitable wind energy sites. This exercise left 200 potential sites, after which a more detailed appraisal of all sites was done based on planning, environmental and technical criteria. After this phase 58 sites were left and after having finished the very detailed appraisal of these sites Dorenell was included in a development list of 27 sites.
In May 2006 a Scoping Report was submitted and in response Infinergy received a formal Scoping Opinion from the Scottish Government. During the scoping exercise bird breeding studies had already commenced.
The development started fully in June 2007 after the breeding birds and wintering birds studies. Royal Haskoning was appointed as the main contractor for the Environmental Impact Assessment. Baseline studies on all different kinds of technical and environmental elements (such as radar studies and geotechnical surveys) were done in July / August 2007. The outcome of these studies was a number of maps showing the technical and environmental constraints of the site.
With the available constraints we optimised the layout of the site – i.e. we removed turbines from areas which had constraints. Before the optimisation process the number of turbines theoretically was 101. After the first optimisation 71 turbines were left.
In order to share the layout and the proposal with the public at an early stage, 2 exhibitions were held in Cabrach and Dufftown. The feed-back from the public prompted Infinergy to start a second optimisation process; this time based on landscape and visual guidelines and the views of the public. This resulted in a final layout of 59 turbines.
The application was consented following a Local Public Inquiry, in December 2011, however, due to necessary grid upgrade work, the development will not be able to connect until 2018. Given that there are a number of years before construction can comence (tying in with 2018 grid connection date) and that turbine technology has developed further, we are now proposing a redesign of the current scheme in order to maximise the potential output.
In September 2013, a Scoping Report was submitted to Scottish Government and Statutory Consultees and in October 2013, a first round of Community Open Days was held in Dufftown. In addition to the feedback received, further work was carried out on site which informed the design process and a further round of Open Days was held in June 2014 in both Dufftown and The Cabrach.
Following on from this and other consultation as well as further studies, an applicaiton was prepared for a 'variation and extension' to the existing consented site and was sumbitted to Scottish Government in December 2014. All of the Environmental Statement documents are availalbe to view and down load in the Downloads section.