High Constellation is a proposed ten turbine wind farm on the Kintyre peninsula approximately 20km South of Tarbert and 30km North of Campbeltown. It is located primarily in commercial forestry at an altitude of around 230m.
A windfarm requires a good wind resource, straightforward access for the large components which comprise a wind farm, and proximity to electrical infrastructure to allow energy generated to be exported. The site is adjacent to the operational Cour Wind Farm, which is one of the best performing onshore windfarms in mainland Scotland. The main access track to Cour Wind Farm runs through the area of the proposed High Constellation Wind Farm. In addition, the substation connection from Kintyre to Hunterston in Ayrshire is located on the same estate as High Constellation. From a technical perspective, therefore, the site is excellent. It has one of the best wind resources in Scotland, a proven access for getting the turbines to the site, and a nearby substation to export the power generated.
In addition to being technically viable, any site needs to be environmentally acceptable. The High Constellation site has no designations for landscape or ecological reasons. The location is remote from housing (so will have no noise issues), has no archaeological sensitivities and does not have any conflict with either airport or navigational radar, or microwave links. Furthermore, it is adjacent to an existing operational windfarm, so accords with general guidance from the Scottish Government that new sites are likely to be located in areas where there are already windfarms, rather than going into new locations.
Overall this location is a technically excellent site, which is free from any environmental designations.
The estate on which High Constellation is located covers a substantial area, and overall area available for development could have supported a windfarm of around 38 turbines of approximately 5MW each. Through the EIA process the layout has been refined. At scoping stage, it comprised 17 turbines, which was then gradually reduced to the final, application layout, which comprises ten turbines. The turbine numbers were reduced mainly in response to avoiding areas of deeper peat, and minimising potential impacts on the ornithological assemblage in the area. The layout was refined to minimise landscape and visual impacts and ensure a coherent layout, which fits well with the landscape and with the neighbouring Cour wind farm.