Designing and assessing proposed windfarms in Scotland
RSK is currently supporting ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) with two of its renewable energy developments (RED) located in Scotland’s Caithness and Argyll and Bute regions. The proposed REDs consist of a mix of wind turbines, solar PV, battery energy storage systems (BESS) and associated infrastructure. The BESS will help to store the electricity produced by the wind turbines, thus smoothing out variances between the wind and the electricity demand.
For these projects, RSK was commissioned by SPR to appraise the mix of technological components being considered for the project. Our resulting report confirmed that the combination of wind, solar and BESS was the most suitable for the locations of the sites. Following the report, SPR commissioned our team to design each RED and coordinate the environmental impact assessments required to support section 36 applications under the Electricity Act 1989, as amended. The key issues facing each site included the presence of peat; significant land coverage of plantation forestry; potential noise impacts on neighbouring properties; sensitivities concerning local cultural heritage assets; Special Protection Areas and associated ornithological interests; and visual and landscape effects.
To optimise design and productivity and to remedy environmental and social constraints, RSK used 3D engineering design software and a constraints–opportunities focus to develop the site concepts and support the eventual consent applications. Keeping the community updated via online meetings throughout the design process has been key to both developments. We also assisted our client in adapting to COVID-19 restrictions and ensured informative and productive interactions.
The projects are currently ongoing: all the key field surveys have been completed and the data from these are being used to inform the site design and the subsequent environmental impact assessment. RSK has also explored wider community-benefit possibilities with SPR for these developments and has identified a number of potential opportunities that could be integrated into the development. The ideas generated will be considered as part of the RED’s concept and impact assessment, where relevant.