Major onshore plans to enable a huge windfarm to provide renewable energy to millions of Scottish homes have been submitted to the Highland Council. 

The West of Orkney Windfarm is part of a multi-billion pound project which is hoped to bring "significant social and economic benefits" to the north of Scotland

It has now submitted plans for onshore works which include proposed cable landfalls on the north Caithness coast, a substation near Spittal in Caithness, and underground cables which will extend around 20km and connect to the substation. 

It comes after the project secured development rights to an area of seabed from Crown Estate Scotland last year, to build an offshore windfarm 30km west of the mainland and 25km of the Sutherland coast. 

The Herald: An indicative layout of the plans north of Caithness and west of OrkneyAn indicative layout of the plans north of Caithness and west of Orkney (Image: West of Orkney Windfarm)

Development manager Jack Farnham said: “The West of Orkney Windfarm is a £multi-billion project which will deliver significant social and economic benefits to the north of Scotland.

“The onshore connection is a vital component of the project and will enable us to export clean electricity sufficient to power around two million homes. The cables to our substation will all be underground and once installed, the land will be reinstated.

“We’ve worked hard to consider all environmental and social constraints when seeking to locate the landfalls, underground cables and substation. We’ve taken on board local communities’ feedback through a series of public events."

The plans, which include an Environmental Impact Assessment, are available to the public to view on the West of Orkney Windfarm website

Mr Farnham said the substation will be "carefully screened" by landscaping and native planting, and will only be lit when necessary.

Read more: West of Orkney Windfarm bids for consent from ministers

He said the project is committed to reduce the volume of traffic on local roads and will continue to work closely with the council and local communities through the development process.

“We believe this application underscores our commitment to delivering a project to the very highest environmental standards,” Mr Farnham said.

The West of Orkney Windfarm will have up to 125 turbines on fixed foundations, an expected capacity of around two gigawatts, and aims to deliver first power in 2029.

It is being developed by a joint venture involving Corio Generation, TotalEnergies and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG).

In October, the project submitted "comprehensive" offshore consent applications to Scottish Ministers. It is the first ScotWind project to have applied for offshore consent,  20 months after being awarded the site.

The Herald: West of Orkney Windfarm development manager Jack FarnhamWest of Orkney Windfarm development manager Jack Farnham (Image: West of Orkney Windfarm)

Mr Farnham said: “Securing both offshore and onshore consents in a reasonable timescale are critical milestones in unlocking the significant inward investment this ambitious project will generate."

The onshore application will be available to view at Thurso Library, Ulbster Arms Hotel and Bettyhill Hotel and on the West of Orkney Windfarm website

Once the planning application has been validated by The Highland Council, representations can be made directly to the council.