Simec submits £158m Highland wind farm plans

Simec, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, said it has formally applied to build a £158 million Highland wind farm at Glenshero “following a year of environmental and technical studies and extensive public consultation.”

Simec, which already operates a hydro power plant linked to Liberty’s aluminium smelter at Fort William, said it has submitted an application to the Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit.

The 168-megawatt scheme, comprising 39 turbines located around eight kilometres north west of Laggan, is intended to provide green power for Scottish industry and represents a significant boost to the GFG Alliance’s investments in Scotland.

SIMEC said if approved, the wind farm would trigger up to £158 million of capital investment with approximately £23 million being spent in the Highland economy during construction alone.

“Contracts for services that would likely be awarded to local firms include; haulage, aggregate, plant hire, concrete, and accommodation,” said Simec.

“Under the Glenshero plans, steel for the wind-tower structures could also be rolled at GFG’s Liberty Dalzell plant in Motherwell and the towers possibly fabricated at a new neighbouring wind turbine manufacturing facility which the company hopes to set up.

“The Glenshero project is also central to GFG Alliance’s vision to further develop the Lochaber estate lands for the benefit of the regional economy and communities.

“The aim is to enhance and expand existing hydro-power production as well as developing new recreational facilities, upgraded visitor accommodation, improved agriculture, forestry and fisheries, providing better access to the land and more support for new local businesses.

“If approved, SIMEC intends to develop opportunities for the local community to share in the ownership of the wind farm.”

Simec CEO Jay Hambro said: “Developing this wind farm will be a landmark for green energy in Scotland and we are proud to bring forward a project that will deliver clean, competitive power to Scottish industry and the wider economy.

“Onshore wind has been shown to provide one of the cheapest and cleanest forms of power on the market today so we look forward to pressing ahead with this exciting scheme.”

Duncan Mackison, chief executive of JAHAMA Highland Estates, the GFG division which manages and develops the estate lands, said: “This is a very exciting step for the project and our plans for the estate.

“We’re hugely grateful to everyone who participated in the public consultations – the feedback from local people, from our neighbours, together with our environmental studies has been used to inform the design of the proposals which we’ve now submitted.

“If approved this project will bring significant benefits to the local area and local economy both in the short term, as part of the construction and longer term as part of our plans to develop the estate and support local industry and jobs for years to come.”