19 December 2014 1.00pm update
West Coast Energy has submitted a planning application for 25 turbines, each 115 metres high, to be built across the Ardtalnaig-Aberfeldy leg of the walk.
The planning application for the 75MW wind parc – enough electricity to power 40,000 homes – has been submitted by Crossburns Windfarm Ltd, a project company of West Coast Energy Ltd in association with the owner of the Urlar Estate, near Aberfeldy. The application was part-prepared by Atmos Consulting.
If approved, this section of the Rob Roy Way – considered one of the highlights of the entire walk – will be re-routed during the estimated 18-month construction period. Once built, the turbines would be visible for 20km of the 151km walk. The most affected would be those sections between Glen Quaich and Urlar, and between Aberfeldy and Dunfallandy Hill.
Steeped in history, the Rob Roy Way celebrates the life of famed Jacobite Rob Roy Macgregor who used the route to evade his pursuers between 1713 and 1725. The trail passes though Balquhidder where Rob Roy is buried.
With two major wind farm already spread across the Highland Perthshire landscape (Griffin and Calliachar), there are already 82 installed turbines visible from Schiehallion, which is owned and managed by the John Muir Trust.
If Crossburns and three other applications in the pipeline were to be approved the number of turbines in the part of Highland Perthshire would rise to 136.Grid connection will be directly into the upgraded Beauly-Denny transmission line that runs through the site.
The value of the local community benefit fund from Crossburns would amount to around – £375,000 per annum – £9.4 million- over the anticipated 25 year operational life of the wind farm.
West Coast Energy aims to assist in the alleviation of fuel poverty and has a partnership agreement with Energy Action Scotland (EAS), the national fuel poverty charity. It proposes that for at least the first 5 years of the wind farms operation, 20% of the community fund is targeted towards initiatives that help tackle fuel poverty in Perthshire.
West Coast Energy is part of the GDF SUEZ Group, with an excellent track record of wind farm development. Over 18 years, it has developed more than 650MW of wind power throughout the UK – including from other wind wind farms in Dumfries and Galloway, South Lanarkshire and Stirling.
A film about Rob Roy MacGregor – with Liam Neeson in the lead role – was made in 1995.