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18 August 04

Highland Council today (18 August) granted planning permission for Scottish Power’s proposed 30MW windfarm at Beinn Tharsuinn near Alness, in Easter Ross.

The 17-turbine windfarm, expected to be operational in late 2005, will save 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and so help in the UK’s drive against global warming.

Welcoming the decision, project manager John Alexander said: “We have put painstaking effort into re-designing Beinn Tharsuinn, including demonstrating how the turbines can be delivered safely to site and a comprehensive traffic management strategy.

“This project will produce clean green energy for around 18,000 local homes and will also be a major step in our target of substantially increasing renewable energy production by 2010. It follows recent planning approval for our Black Law windfarm, near Edinburgh, which at 143MW will be the largest in the UK”.

Revised plans were submitted following Highland Council’s advice in April when councillors asked for amendments to be made before making a further submission. The new plan significantly reduces the visual impact of the windfarm.

Local suppliers will be encouraged to enter into the tendering process which will include contracts for site construction. The £25million project is expected to bring £3-4million to the local economy and will provide two full time jobs. In addition, ScottishPower has agreed a substantial community benefits package which will directly support a range of local projects in East Sutherland and Easter Ross.