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Sròndoire Background

Sròndoire Wind Farmers Ltd started as a farming partnership between the Lithgow family of Ormsary and the Broadfoot (Kenneth) family of Stronachullin, who have been living and farming the land in Mid Argyll for over a century. Sròndoire is a second and separate wind farm on hill ground between Tarbert and Ardrishaig, adjacent to the north and east of the Allt Dearg Community Wind Farm, consisting of 3 turbines accessed from the existing wind farm track. Power is fed into the overhead wooden pole power lines to Lochgilphead that were upgraded as part of the Allt Dearg project.

A much larger development was previously proposed on the site by npower renewables Ltd, and refused planning consent in 2007. The sheer scale of the first proposal was not acceptable and, having taken on the development ourselves, we addressed these previous issues with the much smaller Allt Dearg Community Wind Farm (9.95MW) which was built in 2012. We were able to secure additional electrical grid capacity (5.9MW) and were comfortable that there was sufficient "landscape capacity" in the area to visually accommodate 3 additional turbines.

Remote and sparsely populated rural Argyll is not well endowed with economic opportunities; however the very weather conditions that frustrate our farming and tourism sectors are ideal for the production of renewable energy. Diversification and development into new opportunities are essential elements of a vibrant and sustainable community. What sets Sròndoire and the sister Allt Dearg project apart from the majority of wind farms in the UK is that these projects are locally controlled, with local and community ownership which ensures that the maximum level of economic benefit is retained within the host communities.

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Sròndoire Community Wind Farm

The proposed Sròndoire Community Wind Farm is a 6MW, three turbine wind farm presently in the Argyll & Bute Council planning process.  The development has been taken forward by Ormsary and Stronachullin Estates, and will be a sister project, adjacent to Allt Dearg.

The project received approval from the Argyll & Bute Council Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee on Wednesday 23rd October 2013, and an amendment to increase the tower height of two of the turbines was approved in June 2014. The Council's Planning Officer had recommended approval and the application received widespread support.  There was just one objection on file (five pages of "expert opinion" from Glamis to the north of Dundee, which is over 100 miles distant). The wind farm should enter operation in Autumn 2015.  It is hoped that Sròndoire Community Wind Farm will follow the successful local ownership model of Allt Dearg, with 1/12th shares of the project being owned by both the neighbouring Tarbert & Skipness and Kilfinan communities.

Some introductory details on the proposed Sròndoire Community Wind Farm are available on the Background page.

And watch this website for more information, updates and photos as they become available in the near future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Won't it spoil my view and be noisy?

This was a concern with the previous proposal: the Sròndoire design uses three slightly larger turbines than Allt Dearg - on balance it was judged better to have fewer larger turbines than more smaller turbines spread out over a wider area. This solution helps to reduce visibility from the key viewpoints along Loch Fyne. Sròndoire is a long way from most local towns and villages, and those living closer will see very little (if any) of the towers due to the intervening landscape and vegetation. While some homes will have a view in the distance on a clear day (at over 400m altitude, the site spends a lot of time in the clouds), we have done our best to minimise this in the design and blend the new turbines into the existing Allt Dearg towers, but we cannot hide all the turbines from every viewpoint. The experience from wind farms elsewhere in Argyll and beyond, is that the visual intrusion fades in time. Perhaps it is too early to say anything definitive about the Allt Dearg turbines but we expect the combined sites will become an integrated and accepted part of the landscape, as the communications towers on the neighbouring Mheal Mhor site and commercial forestry on the banks of Loch Fyne are today. Wind turbines are a temporary landscape feature. If a better source of renewable energy can be found, they can be dismantled and removed leaving little trace of their existence. And no, if you can't hear Allt Dearg you won't be able to hear Sròndoire.

Will it discourage tourists?

Like many in Argyll, Ormsary and Stronachullin rely on holiday makers as an important part of our existing businesses. We can find no hard evidence that tourists are deterred from visiting areas with wind farms, and while those opposed to wind farms often cite this as a threat, it is not supported by independent survey data or evidenced in any fall off in tourism in areas where visible wind farms have been built. We do know that walking and biking on the Allt Dearg access tracks is proving popular with locals and visitors alike. The site is pretty well hidden from the main tourism routes, with only fleeting glimpses to passing travellers, who are most likely to be taking in the more immediate postcard views of the shore and lochs. In the past it was hydro dams and forestry. Twenty years ago fish farms were similarly said to threaten tourism, but those fish cages, which are visible from Stronachullin and Ormsary and provide local jobs, have had no such negative effect. We believe that many types of land use in Argyll - wind farms, commercial forestry, fish farms, caravan parks, distilleries, etc. - can all co-exist with a vibrant local tourism industry.

Will it harm birds?

We hope not, and based on our experience at Allt Dearg, we do not believe Sròndoire will conflict with any birds or beasts. Stronachullin and Ormsary have a fantastic bird population, including some rare species, over which we take particular care. The site location and design have been developed, after specific survey work, to ensure that the theoretical risk of bird collision with the turbines is reduced to a minimum. The turbines are located well clear of key bird habitats. Furthermore, revenue from Sròndoire will be able to accelerate and expand the Allt Dearg habitat projects at Ormsary and Stronachullin that continue to enhance the area's bird population.  There is not much in the way of bats at this altitude.

Are all these wind farms just a con trick to make money for the big power companies and greedy land owners?

Global warming is a real threat to the future of life on this planet, requiring us all to take what sensible measures we can to tackle climate change. We are all entitled to opinion, but science is based on fact, regardless of convenience. Every kWh of clean wind power we will generate serves to displace a kWh of power presently produced from fossil fuels and the associated carbon emissions. No big power utilities involved here, just two family landowners combining with their neighbouring communities, making the most of a great opportunity to diversify their farm income, in order to secure the revenue that supports the jobs and future of those communities, whilst doing a little to meet Scotland's renewable targets.

Why couldn't they build an offshore wind farm or work on some other renewable power?

At present, onshore wind is really the only game in town able to increase significantly our national level of renewable power. Sròndoire builds on the successful Allt Dearg model, sharing the tracks and other site infrastructure to deliver the maximum power generation for the minimum level of environmental impact. Ormsary and Stronachullin are also in the process of restoring and upgrading three hydro generation schemes - We have been in renewable energy production for a century. The Lithgow family at Ormsary, have been generating hydro-electric power continuously since 1913.  The Kenneth family at Stronachullin, installed hydro electric generation in the early thirties. 

Wind Farms should be built closer to the electricity consumers

At 6 MW most of what we produce will be used up in Lochgilphead and Ardrishaig, ensuring efficient transmission (we are paid a little extra because of this). We are lucky to have excellent wind at Sròndoire. Most consumers live in less windy parts of the UK and there is not much we can do about that.

Most of the time the turbines aren't turning and the intermittent wind power produced causes Grid problems

Based on the modelled projections and our short experience to date at Allt Dearg, we expect the turbines to operate at some level of production for more than 94% of the time. Output will drop in still weather and when the wind speed is too high. As the Srondoire turbines are lower down the hill, we expect relative output to be slightly less than Allt Dearg, but Sròndoire will still enjoy a capacity factor well above 40% - which will make it one of the best performing wind sites in the UK.  The Electrical Grid is perfectly able to cope with the huge variations in power demand throughout a 24 hour period - it can deal equally well with intermittent power production from wind farms.