SSE unveils revised Doraville Wind Farm design

SSE is to submit a new design layout for its proposed Doraville Wind Farm to Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure. With a projected capital investment of £150 million, Doraville Wind Farm is the largest single investment proposed by SSE in the NI economy.

The new design, which includes a reduction in overall turbine numbers from 36 to 33, is being submitted in response to a request for Further Environmental Information (FEI) issued by the Department for Infrastructure following feedback from the statutory public consultation exercise undertaken last year. SSE proposes to submit the FEI in the coming weeks.

The new Doraville Wind Farm layout went on show today at a public information event held in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone. Members of the local community were invited to attend to learn details of the changes to the Environmental Statement (ES) layout as well as to meet members of the SSE project team who were on hand to answer any questions they may have.

SSE originally submitted its application for planning permission in June 2015. Situated 12km west of Draperstown and 20km north-west of Cookstown, the proposed wind farm would have the capacity to power just over 100,000† homes across the region.

In December 2015, SSE submitted an Environmental Statement to Northern Ireland Planning Services, which assessed the impacts of the proposed wind farm design. Following an extensive statutory consultation exercise, during which statutory consultees, interested parties and the public were given an opportunity to comment on the proposed development, the design layout was revised. These revisions include:

  • the reduction in the total number of turbines from 36 to 33 to afford added protection to areas of active peat;
  • the repositioning of seven turbines and associated access tracks to address landscape and priority habitats; and
  • a change in turbine specification to 3.6MW units to accord with current available models and to optimise total energy generation to 118.8MW.

The change in turbine specification will result in 10 turbines with a maximum tip height of 136m and 23 turbines with a maximum tip height of 149m. While turbine heights have increased, the layout changes including the repositioning of seven turbines mean that the visual impact, particularly from sensitive areas such as the Glenelly Valley, remains minimal.

Speaking ahead of the event, Vicky Boden, SSE Community Liaison Officer, said:

“Developing energy infrastructure is an essential part of providing the energy people need. At SSE we have invested over half a billion pounds so far in the development of Northern Ireland’s sustainable energy infrastructure. Through our proposals for Doraville Wind Farm we plan to invest a further £150 million to help support Northern Ireland’s transition towards a low carbon economy.

“We recognise that while new projects can create jobs and channel investment into the region during their construction and throughout their lifetime, they can also have visual and physical impacts on landscapes and the environment. That’s why we always strive to develop our projects responsibly, listening to stakeholders and responding in a balanced way.

“By listening to suggestions and concerns raised during the statutory consultation period we’ve been able to make important revisions to the design layout for Doraville Wind Farm. We believe this new design responds to those concerns, providing the maximum environmental protection balanced with delivering the best proposal that can go forward to help all of us meet the challenge of climate change.

“We now look forward to engaging with everyone concerned, from statutory consultees to local residents and community members, as we bring the Doraville Wind Farm project forward to its next stage of consultation as part of the ongoing planning process.”

The submission of the revised Environmental Statement to the Department for Infrastructure will be advertised in local press and on SSE’s project website, notifying interested parties of the opportunity to make representations and comment on the application during a statutory consultation period. Following the conclusion of this process the Department will assess the application against planning and energy policy. All consultee representation will be considered, including comments from the local community.

For more on Doraville Wind Farm, including links to project information for download, click here.

† Projected generation and homes powered calculation (103,093 homes) based on typical annual consumption of 3,200kWh (Ofgem, May 2015) and 1 year average recorded capacity factor of SSE wind farms operating in Northern Ireland, April 2015-March 2016. Historic figures quoted are for guideline purposes only – actual future performance may vary.