Costa Head

Hoolan Energy is considering a wind farm consisting of up to four turbines called Costa Head Wind Farm - the proposal is west of Costa Hill and north of Loch of Swannay on the Mainland.  

The turbines would be up to 125m in height. We installed a met mast for the project in March 2016 to measure the wind speeds and submitted a planning application in December 2016.


Click here to view questions asked by residents regarding the proposed Costa Head Wind Farm.

Contracts for Difference for Costa Head and Hesta Head

The Orkney Islands host some of the best wind resource in the world and we are delighted to have secured Contracts for Difference (CfD) for our Costa Head and Hesta Head projects. Combined, the projects will contribute nearly 40MW of commercial scale island wind, enough power to supply approximately 23,000 homes each year.

Earlier this week, Ofgem conditionally approved a 220MW transmission link from the Orkney islands. Ofgem’s approval is conditional on a total of 135MW of new wind farm projects on Orkney being awarded a CfD or being financially viable by December 2021. The new electricity link will enable new wind farms and tidal arrays on Orkney to send electricity to the mainland. The new interconnector is a key strategic priority of the Orkney Islands Council and these new wind farms are critical to realising that goal.

Once operational, the wind farms will provide significant economic benefit to the islands including a community benefit of £5,000 per MW installed and an additional £1,000 per MW installed towards fuel poverty.

Hoolan Energy, as part of Low Carbon, have developed the projects.

Commenting on the announcement, Steve Mack, Head of Investments at Low Carbon said: “We have been developing Costa Head and Hesta Head for almost five years and are delighted to secure CfD contracts for both projects.  We look forward to the other Orkney projects completing their development thus enabling construction of the interconnector to start as soon as possible.  The auction has once again cleared below where industry experts were predicting, and it is appropriate on Climate Action Day that we see a further 6GW of clean, green renewable energy generation being procured in the UK.  What is clear from this auction is that it is now completely untenable for the Government to justify its preference for offshore wind as a “less established technology” and we look forward to onshore wind and solar being able to compete in future Contracts for Difference auctions and driving further decarbonisation at even lower cost.”

Projects Consented

The Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) issued planning consent for both Costa Head Wind Farm and Hesta Head Wind Farm following our appeal in 2018.  
The cases can be found here:
There is still much work to do ahead of our grid connection date of April 2023, but this is an important milestone and we are delighted to have received approval.  Our next step will be to bid for a Contract for Difference in the upcoming auction later in 2019 and support the ongoing work with Ofgem to secure a new interconnector for Orkney.
Lizzie Foot, Development Director of Hoolan Energy, said:
"Orkney Islands host some of the best wind resource in the world and we are delighted to have received approval for our Costa Head and Hesta Head projects.  Combined, the projects are expected to contribute nearly 40MW of commercial scale island wind to support the delivery of Orkney’s grid connection reinforcement and enough energy to supply the equivalent of 23,000 homes every year.
"Hoolan Energy is committed to working in partnership with, and investing in, the local community to make a positive and significant impact on the causes of climate change whilst helping to address local fuel poverty.  Over their lifetime, the projects will displace over 1m tonnes of CO₂.  Local communities will receive £5,000 per MW of annual community benefit fund for each project. This is index linked and lasts for the lifetime of the wind farm, meaning overall community benefit of up to £4.59m. Fuel poverty match funding of over £800,000 has also been offered.  In addition, we are offering shared community ownership of at least 10% in our projects and are committed to ongoing engagement and support to enable Orcadians to take up this offer."

Scottish Renewables - Onshore Wind Polling

As a member of Scottish Renewables, we wanted to share their recent polling that found that almost seven in ten Scots living in rural areas support the use of onshore wind energy.

The independent survey is the first to focus specifically on what people living outside urban areas think of renewable energy developments.

Results show 66% of rural Scots support the use of onshore wind energy, with 22% saying they have no opinion or don't know and only 11% opposed to new onshore wind farms.

All renewable energy technologies enjoy high levels of support, with rural Scots backing solar power (83% support), wave and tidal energy (83% support), offshore wind energy (78% support) and biomass (69% support).

The poll, carried out by Survation, also found that eight in ten Scots living in rural areas (80%) think the next Scottish Government should continue to develop renewable energy sources.
More information and links to the polling can be found on the Scottish Renewables website here.

Project Update

Hoolan Energy has lodged appeals to the DPEA for Costa Head Wind Farm and Hesta Head Wind Farm.  

Both projects received no objections from any statutory consultees and we want the decisions to be reviewed so the benefits of the projects can be examined by a reporter and we will update on the appeal progress.

Costa Head Wind Farm Goes To Committee

Costa Head Wind Farm and Hesta Head Wind Farm will both be considered at Orkney Island Council’s Planning Committee on 31 August 2018.

Costa Head Wind Farm has been recommended for approval by Orkney Island Council’s planning officers and has received no objections from any of the statutory consultees.   In the report, the Planning Officer states the “employment creation, socio-economic benefits of shared ownership, carbon displacement and contribution towards the needs case for the subsea transmission cable are considered to outweigh landscape and historic environment concerns.”

Hesta Head Wind Farm has also received no objections from any of the statutory consultees, including no objections from SNH, SEPA and Historic Environment Scotland, however the Council’s planning officer has recommended the project for refusal on landscape impact grounds, stating: “Many issues are already considered to have no unacceptable impact, through design iteration, mitigation, as could be controlled by planning conditions, or a combination. Consideration is finely balanced between the benefits and residual adverse effects. In the end, landscape impact concerns are considered to outweigh employment creation, socio-economic benefits of shared ownership, carbon displacement and contribution towards the needs case for the subsea transmission cable.”

Both Costa Head Wind Farm and Hesta Head Wind Farm have exceptional wind speeds and are located in the Orkney Islands Council Development Plan as being within an area with potential for wind farm development.  We have consulted and redesigned the projects following feedback and it is welcome that both projects have received no objections from any statutory consultees.  We welcome the positive recommendation for Costa Head Wind Farm and we are disappointed that Hesta Head Wind Farm has been recommended for refusal on landscape grounds.

Orkney Transmission Infrastructure Project - Public Consultations

Although a separate process to the Hoolan Energy proposals, grid is a topic that is raised with us at various exhibition events.  

SSEN has recently advertised a series of public consultation events regarding their transmission infrastructure proposals for the Orkney islands. Their team will be in attendance at these open door events - the dates and locations for the events are as follows –

Mon 30th April - The Ayre Hotel, Kirkwall, 14:00 – 19:00

Tue 1st May - Harray Community Centre, Harray, 14:00 – 19:00

Wed 2nd May - Bellview Hotel, St Margaret’s Hope, 14:00 – 19:00

Thu 3rd May - North Walls Community School, Hoy, 11:00 – 15:00

For further information on the project, please visit their dedicated website -

Thanks, Hoolan Energy.


On 28 March 2018, we held an exhibition at the Birsay Hall to highlight the recent submission of an addendum for our proposals for Costa Head Wind Farm.  At the exhibition, the following exhibition boards were on display - please click on the link below to open up the Boards:

Costa Head Information Boards 2018

Thank you to all the residents who attended and provided feedback at the event.  Also at the exhibition, we provided information on how the project, if consented, can help tackle fuel poverty as well as the potential economic benefits of the wind farm.  Hoolan Energy commissioned THAW Orkney, a charity established in 2014 to assist fuel poor households in Orkney, to outline how the projects could help alleviate fuel poverty.  We have committed to providing an additional £1,000 per MW of installed capacity per annum over the lifetime of each project if this is ‘match funded’ with £1,000 per MW from the community benefit fund specifically to address fuel poverty, giving the local community the option of additional funds.  Please find links to background documents:

THAW Report - Fuel Poverty

BiGGAR Economics Report - Hesta Head & Costa Head

Please do get in touch if you have any questions regarding any of the above documents or Information Boards.  Thank you.


We have recently submitted an Addendum to the original Costa Head Wind Farm planning application. The purpose of an Addendum is to provide additional information to the planning authority (Orkney Islands Council) and it includes:
  • An updated Environmental Impact Assessment relating to a reduction in turbines from five turbines to four turbines and a changed turbine layout; and
  • Additional ornithology information following bird surveys carried out in 2017.
Once validated, the full planning Addendum will be available to view on the Orkney Islands Council’s e-Planning website and you are able to comment on the proposed development directly to Orkney Islands Council.  Previous public comments made to the planning authority are still valid and will be considered by Orkney Islands.
We are holding an exhibition to give further details and answer any questions on the Addendum and the project in general.  Details of the exhibition are as follows:
Date: Wednesday 28th March 2018
Time: 3pm – 7pm
Venue: Birsay Community Hall, Oxtro, Birsay, KW17 2LY
We will upload the exhibition boards and further information following the exhibition for those unable to attend.

Grid Consultation Events

Although a separate application process to the Hoolan Energy proposals, grid is a topic that is raised with us at various Costa Head Wind Farm Information Events.  Therefore, please find details from Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) on forthcoming consultation events:

Stromness Community Centre

Wednesday 22 November, 2pm – 7pm


Firth Community Centre, Finstown

Thursday 23 November, 2pm – 7pm


Kirkwall and St Ola Community Centre

Friday 24 November, 2pm – 7pm

Thanks. Hoolan Energy.

Met Mast Application Update

Hoolan Energy has recently submitted an application to Orkney Islands Council, asking for an extension of time for our met mast installation at Costa Head.

The met masts for both proposed sites were erected in March 2016.  We have planning permission for 18 months, which expires in September 2017.

We've asked for a variation to the planning permission to keep the met mast in place until 20 June 2018 in order to allow us to collect further wind data.  This will help inform us of the localised wind patterns at each site so that the best candidate turbine can be selected if either project is consented.  The met masts have been collecting data since they were first erected and have had no issues.

Both sites are extremely windy.  We believe these will be some of the windiest sites in the UK for a wind farm, producing exceptional yields of renewable energy.

Hoolan Energy at the Dounby Show

Hoolan Energy would like to thank the organisers and all the visitors who visited our Stand at both the Hope Show and Dounby Show in August 2017.

The weather was great on both days and we had an opportunity to answer questions on our proposals for Costa Head Wind Farm.

Well done to all the winners of the various competitions during the day.  We also held a 'Hidden Treasure' map of Orkney competition and a giant jenga competition.

Costa Head Information Boards June 2017

Hoolan Energy held an Information Day in relation to Costa Head Wind Farm on 28 June 2017 at Birsay Hall. At the event, the following information boards were made available - please click on the link below to open up the Boards:

Costa Head Information Boards June 2017

Thank you to all the residents who attended and provided feedback on our proposals for Shared Ownership at the event.  We will update the website with further information on shared ownership and we are organising roundtable events later in the summer as well.  Please get in touch if you have any queries on the wind farm proposals or ideas on shared ownership.

Costa Head Information Day

We will be holding Information Day events for our two wind farm proposals in Orkney.  The exhibitions are to provide an update on the proposals as well as set out further information on possible shared ownership models for the wind farms. The Information Day details are as follows:

Costa Head Wind Farm

Date​: Wednesday 28th June 2017

Time​: 1pm – 7pm

Venue​: Birsay Community Hall, Oxtro, Birsay, KW17 2LY


Hesta Head Wind Farm

Date: Thursday 29th June 2017

Time: 1pm – 7pm

Venue: Cromarty Hall, St Margaret’s Hope, South Ronaldsay, KW17 2SN


The planning applications are currently being considered by Orkney Islands Council and are receiving consultee responses.  If either project is consented, we want to ensure that the community as a whole, including those unable to invest in the scheme, benefit from the wind farm. We will have more information at the exhibition events and will upload it to the website as well.



Grid Update & Scottish & Southern Energy Networks Consultation

We are aware that there has been concern regarding the potential route of the grid connection and the infrastructure that Costa Head Wind Farm (if consented) would require. 

The grid connection route design and application is a separate process to the wind farm planning application and is the responsibility of Scottish & Southern Energy Networks.

Scottish & Southern Energy Networks is in the process of undertaking the design of the grid route on Orkney, and the wider grid upgrade works to the grid connection between Caithness and Orkney. The wider grid upgrade works which include a subsea connection and potential cable landing points have been under review for some time, but remain at an early stage and are subject to change. Environmental surveys of potential route designs and alternatives are part of this process. Consultation with stakeholders, including members of the public, Orkney Islands Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Environment Scotland will also take place.

Scottish & Southern Energy Networks recently announced consultation dates and these are as follows:







Village Hall

25 February

11.30 – 14:30


Village Hall

26 February

11.00 – 15:30


The Mart

27 February

10.30 – 16:00


Stomabank Hotel

28 February

10.30 – 12.30

14.30 – 19.30


Village Hall

1 March

14.00 – 19.30


Rendall Community Hall

2 March

14.00 – 19.30


Firth Community Centre

3 March

14.00 – 19.30











The events will be advertised locally and we understand invitations will also be sent to local residents. The Scottish & Southern Energy Networks consultation events provide local residents with an important opportunity to comment on Scottish & Southern Energy Networks plans.

Planning Application Validated

Hoolan Energy submitted the planning application for Costa Head Wind Farm in December 2016 and now have confirmation it has been validated by Orkney Islands Council.

We understand the application will be advertised in early 2017, outlining details for public comments.  Comments to the Council can be made by going to their planning portal and typing in 'Costa Head Wind Farm' or planning application number 16/580/TPPMAJ at 

Please get in touch with us if you have any queries or would like further information.  The post below contains links to the Site Location, Site Layout, Planning Statement, Non-Technical Summary, Design & Access, Pre-Application Consultation and the first three Chapters of the Planning Application.

Thanks, Hoolan Energy


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