COUNCILLORS in Orkney have backed plans for a multi-billion-pound offshore windfarm development.

Orkney Island Council’s development and infrastructure committee met on February 6 to consider the West of Orkney Windfarm plans, which would see the construction of up to 125 wind turbines 30 kilometres west of the Orkney mainland.

After considering the application, which was submitted to Scottish Government ministers in October, councillors decided to back the plans. 

It is thought the project could represent more than £4 billion of investment. 

Orkney Council is a statutory consultee. However, the final decision to grant offshore consent lies with the Scottish Government.

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“We welcome this positive support from Orkney Islands Council,” said West of Orkney Windfarm development manager Jack Farnham.

“We have been working closely with the community and businesses in Orkney for a number of years to ensure our ambitious project will bring positive, long-term benefits to Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland and we are extremely grateful to the officials and elected representatives of the council for their endorsement of our detailed plans.

“The Scottish Government has a stated ambition to deploy 8-11GW of offshore wind in Scottish waters by 2030.

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“As the first ScotWind project to enter the planning process, securing timely offshore consent from the Scottish Government and onshore planning permission from The Highland Council will be critical if Scotland is to meet this target, which will unlock significant inward investment and with it economic and social benefits to the far north.”

The project will have an expected capacity of around two gigawatts and aims to start delivering power in 2029.

It is being developed by a joint venture comprising Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group.