Strathy North

  • Category: Renewables
  • Energy type: Onshore wind
  • Project type: Project

Strathy North wind farm site is located approximately 7km from Strathy village, Sutherland, in an area of commercial forestry plantation.

  • 33 turbine project
  • received consent from Scottish Ministers in November 2011
  • now under construction
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Strathy North wind farm - April 2014

Strathy North wind farm site is located approximately 7km from Strathy village, Sutherland, in an area of commercial forestry plantation.

In this video Project Manager, Rod Crawford and Liaison Manager Ruth Liddicoat give a quick progress update on the 33 turbine wind farm.

Watch the video

Quick overview

In January 2007 we submitted a proposal to the Scottish Government for a 35 turbine wind farm at Strathy Forest, approximately 7km from Strathy Village in Sutherland. Since lodging this application we removed two turbines from the design, in response to feedback, and submitted an Addendum in November 2010 to the Scottish Government for a smaller 33 turbine scheme which was consented.

In July 2013 we started enabling works to prepare the site for the main construction phase of the project. These works involved; installing a temporary bridge, building a platform for the on-site substation, opening a borrow pit to acquire rock and stone and building the new access track.

This new track will ensure that construction traffic and turbine deliveries associated with the main works can bypass Strathy village.

Latest news

SSE appointed Highlands civil engineering firm RJ McLeod as its principal contractor on the Strathy North wind farm project. Construction started in Febuary 2014 and initially is focussing on building the main access track through site together with the spur roads which lead out to each of the turbine locations. 

Community

We recognise that our investments in new electricity generation benefit from the co-operation of the local community in a variety of ways, particularly during the construction phase. In recognition of this, our policy is to establish long-term funds to support community projects in areas where we are developing generation projects. 

Please visit our Community page for more information. 

More information

Project information

Background
In January 2007 we submitted a proposal to the Scottish Government for a 35 turbine wind farm at Strathy Forest, approximately 7km from Strathy Village in Sutherland. Since lodging this application we removed two turbines from the design, in response to feedback, and submitted an Addendum in November 2010 to the Scottish Government for a smaller 33 turbine scheme.

We worked closely with the Scottish Government and key consultees throughout the planning process to review responses received and where possible, address the points raised. On 10 May 2011 The Highland Council (a key consultee to the Scottish Government) held a special planning committee meeting to discuss the Strathy North wind farm proposal and provide their response to the Scottish Government. The Council supported the planning report which recommended 'no objection' to the proposal, and on 22 November 2011 consent for the Strathy North proposal was granted by the Scottish Government.

Forestry works
The Strathy North site is located in an area of commercial forestry plantation. In October 2012 we began the first phase of forestry works using a technique called 'keyholing' which targets and removes specific areas of plantation, such as those on the access track routes and turbine base areas, to help open up access to different areas of the site for construction. A mixture of mulching (to produce wood-chipped areas on site) and conventional timber harvesting was used to do this, in line with the site's Habitat Management Plan.

A few loads of harvested timber have been directed to Forsinain, to assist the local sawmill, with the remainder stockpiled on site ready for extraction later in the year.

The forestry works will continue into the operational phase of the wind farm, involving a mix of mulching and felling, to gradually clear the commercial forestry on site. The eastern part of the site will also be replanted with native woodland, in addition to other habitat work such as peatland restoration to the south of the site.

Enabling works
In July 2013 we started ‘enabling works’ to prepare the site for the main construction phase of the project. These works were undertaken by highland civil contractor, RJ McLeod, and involved the following:

  • Installing a temporary bridge (at Dallangwell) near the site entrance 
  • Building a platform for the on-site substation 
  • Opening a borrow pit to acquire rock and stone 
  • Minor on-site road works (between borrow pit and substation area) 
  • Building the new access track from Baligill (to bypass Strathy village)

The new access track that was built from Baligill on the A836 north coast road, to join up with the Bowside track which leads to site, was an important element of the preparatory works. This new track will ensure that construction traffic and turbine deliveries associated with the main works can bypass Strathy village.

Main construction works
We expect to start the main phase of construction in February 2014, once we have appointed our principal civil contractor.

Over the first few months we will be focussing on building the main access track through site together with the spur roads which lead out to each of the turbine locations. In the spring we will move onto construction of the turbine bases which we expect to complete towards the end of this year, ahead of the turbine deliveries starting early in 2015. We will then erect the turbines and begin testing and commissioning them in stages before the site becomes fully operational towards the end of 2015.

We are committed to maximising the benefits and opportunities for local businesses and communities from the Strathy North project. 

Business opportunities

Our approach
We are committed to maximising the benefits and opportunities for local businesses and communities from the Strathy North project.

Using local services
We have already been using a wide variety of local services in the area during the enabling works phase of the project. These include the hotels and B&Bs, restaurants and cafes, shops, garages and petrol stations, and local village halls for meetings and events. This is expected to continue into the main construction phase of works.


Involving local businesses
One of the key benefits from a project like Strathy North is the opportunities it provides to local businesses to get involved. We have already employed a range of services and skills from within the local area during the enabling works. These range from joiners, carpet fitters, cleaners, fencers, through to larger businesses within the wider area including:

  • Charles Angus Engineers (Thurso) 
  • A&W Sinclair Ltd (Wick) 
  • E&M Engineering (Scrabster) 
  • GMR Henderson (Wick) 
  • MM Miller (Wick)