Hesta Head Wind Farm

Hesta Head Wind Farm benefits from excellent wind resource.

Planning Consented

Welcome to

Hesta Head Wind Farm

Hesta Head Wind Farm benefits from excellent wind resource.

Our projects were the first on Orkney to secure planning consent, hold grid connections and win CfDs (Contracts for Difference). Approved since 2015, we have been working to ensure the new interconnector was approved.

Hesta Head Wind Farm will provide greater security of energy supply, economic and community benefits, employment and renewable energy investment opportunities.

The Project

Hesta Head Wind Farm supported the case to bring a new subsea grid connection to Orkney and since 2015 we have been working to ensure the new interconnector was approved.

Our projects were the first on Orkney to secure planning consent, hold grid connections and win CfDs (Contracts for Difference). Now approved, the benefits of a new interconnector include greater security of energy supply, economic and community benefits, employment and renewable energy investment opportunities.

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Proposed Development

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The site design evolved over time, taking account of information gathered
on the site conditions, physical constraints, health and safety, potential environmental impacts, technical considerations, and feedback from the local community. Information was collated from desktop studies, site surveys, feedback from OIC and other relevant regulators, public consultation,
local planning policy and relevant legislation. This information provided the baseline from which site issues and sensitivities could be identified and highlighted for further detailed assessment and given priority in influencing the layout iterations of the Proposed Development.

Several design iterations were prepared as the project progressed, including consideration of turbine numbers and locations, turbine size, and on-site infrastructure including access tracks and crane hardstandings. Following submission of the planning application with accompanying original ES,
feedback was received from key stakeholders indicating concerns about potential effects on peregrine falcon.

The Proposed Development layout and design was therefore reviewed further, to determine any potential for retaining a commercially viable and productive renewable energy development, while further reducing potential effects on peregrine.

Key Project Documents

In this section, you will find key information about the project which you able to download and view or print at home.

Hesta Head Site Location


Non-technical Summary Report


Transmission Link Report


Economic Benefits


The Global Climate Emergency - Scotland's Response

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham's statement – Published 14th May 2019:

“Scotland’s response to the climate emergency must be hardwired into our national psyche. We must take this journey together, seize the economic opportunities available to us and redefine what world leadership means, not just as a government but as a country. Scotland has declared a global climate emergency and now Scotland must act as one to safeguard our planet for future generations.”

Onshore wind: policy statement 2022 – Published 21st December 2022:

“This statement, which is the culmination of an extensive consultative process with industry, our statutory consultees and the public, sets an overall ambition of 20 GW of installed onshore wind capacity in Scotland by 2030.”


Low Carbon is the developer of this project and we share as much information as possible during the lifetime of our projects.

Here is a selection of questions that have been asked relating to wind farm installations/builds.

What are the benefits of this wind farm to the local environment and community?

Hesta Head Wind Farm has consent for five turbines, and an installed capacity of up to 20.4MW (megawatts) with a maximum tip height of 125m.

Community Benefit Fund

As well as contributing to the Needs Case for a new Orkney interconnector, the project has committed to a Community Benefit Fund in line with Scottish Government best practice.The fund is £5,000 per MW, exists for the duration of Hesta Head Wind Farm’s operational life (25 years) and is index linked.For a 20.4MW wind farm this would provide £102,000 every year to the local community or £2.55m over the lifetime of the project (before indexation).

Fuel Poverty - Enhanced Community Benefit Fund

Orkney's Fuel Poverty Strategy is to eradicate fuel poverty by 2032, while at the same time maximising the use of Orkney's renewables potential to benefit the community in Orkney.

If the entity in receipt of Hesta Head Community Benefit Fund is willing to donate £1,000 per MW towards alleviating fuel poverty, we will match fund this initiative with an additional £1,000 per MW, per annum. For a 20.4MW wind farm like Hesta Head this could provide up to £40,800 additional fuel poverty funding every year, or £1.02m over the lifetime of the project.

We worked with THAW ORKNEY [http://www.thaworkney.co.uk] to illustrate the sort of reach this funding could have, including property repairs, draught exclusion, internal wall insulation, external wall insulation, high retention storage heaters, and air to air heat pumps.

Shared ownership opportunity

From the outset of our involvement in these projects, we have been keen (and people have asked us) to ensure our Orkney projects offer some form of shared ownership for the local community to invest in. Ultimately, we would like to work with the local community groups and individuals to arrive at a sustainable and financially sound position which benefits the whole community.

We have committed to making up to 10% of the project value available for shared ownership investment. 10% is not a cap and the level of offering will be based on the level of local interest.

The timing of any shared ownership opportunity will be post construction (eliminating construction risk). An entity would be established by the community with the ability to raise finance from a number of sources. One of those sources may be individual Orcadians contributing to the investment, and this is something which can be explored further with the help of independent advisors.

The model the community chooses will depend on the community’s objectives and how best to finance the project. We will support the community in getting access to the appropriate independent advisers who will be able to help identify what best aligns with community aims.

Communities can get independent advice and support to decide if community ownership is right for them. If you would like to register your interest, please contact us.

You can find further resources here [https://localenergy.scot/hub/shared-ownership/]


Supply chain

Construction and operation of a wind farm construction involves a wide range of skilled contractors. When we evaluate tenders against the usual criteria such as health and safety and environmental record, we will also give significant weight to those principal and sub-contractors who can offer apprenticeships and work experience opportunities.

We will be holding another Meet the Buyer event in Orkney, and if you would like to register you or your company’s interest, we would love to hear from you.

What is Hoolan Energy’s relationship with Low Carbon?

Hoolan Energy was established in 2015 by Low Carbon as a specialist renewable energy developer with a focus on Scottish onshore wind, marine and tidal projects, including Costa Head and Hesta Head Wind Farms on Orkney. The Low Carbon brand will now be used for all our projects.

Orkney’s grid is at capacity. How will this project work?

We are delighted that Ofgem has recently approved a new interconnector for Orkney. This is an important milestone which is the result of years of collaboration.

Costa Head Wind Farm and Hesta Head Wind Farm support the case to bring a new subsea grid connection to the islands, and since 2015 we have been working to ensure a new interconnector for Orkney is approved. Our projects were the first on Orkney to secure planning consent, hold grid connections and win CfDs (Contracts for Difference), providing Ofgem with certainty that a new interconnector provides value for money.

Why is the grid infrastructure that is needed for the wind farm not part of your planning application?

We secured Transmission Entry Capacity grid connections for our projects in Orkney with National Grid.The grid connection date has been significantly delayed and we currently expect to connect in 2027.

Hesta Head Wind Farm itself would not necessarily need pylon towers, more likely double wooden poles; but the route, design and application process are the responsibility of Scottish & Southern Energy Networks (Transmission).

Any proposed grid connection by SSEN is subject to environmental surveys, public engagement events and feedback, and consultation with statutory consultees and decision makers such as Orkney Islands Council, Scottish Natural Heritage and Historic Environments Scotland. This consultation is carried out by SSEN.

Is the energy from the project going to go to Orkney households?

The electricity generated by the turbines will go into the national grid, but does contribute to Scotland’s net-zero goals and the UK security of supply. Once in the grid network, energy is distributed to the various Distribution Network Operators (DNO’s) who then supply customers.

What subsidy support will you receive?

There is no longer a subsidy for onshore wind or island onshore wind.

What about shadow flicker from turbines?

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment surveys for the wind farm, a full shadow flicker assessment has been carried out and modelling results indicate no significant effects. For the purposes of the assessment it is assumed that all properties face onto the proposed development and no local screening (vegetation and blinds/curtains) is considered.

Do you have fire detection systems in place should the wind farm be constructed?

Fire detection and suppression systems are standard options today on turbine models which would be appropriate for installation on our proposed development.

Health & Safety law, regulations and safe working practices are enforced throughout each stage of a wind farm life cycle, and subject to detailed, site specific design. Environmental protection and insurances form part of these comprehensive policies.