Upper Sonachan

A big green development to meet Scotland’s big green ambitions.

Scotland shares our ambition for a self sustaining and green energy – we like the sound of that. Looking beyond 2020, Scottish Ministers have made an admirable commitment to a lower carbon future targeting an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – this is no small feat.

Our assessments suggest Upper Sonachan has the right environmental assets to accommodate a wind park in excess of 50MW. It is expected that the wind park will make a significant contribution in replacing the use of finite fossil fuels, resulting in an important reduction in carbon emissions in line with the Scottish Ministers’ green energy objectives. Every unit of green energy made here is one less that has to be made from other sources, such as burning imported coal or gas. The wind is ours and it’s everlasting, so let’s make the most of it (read how how wind energy works).

We have taken account of a whole range of factors in designing the layout of the Upper Sonachan Wind Park, including landscape, ecological and archaeological constraints.

We are all about sustainability and energy independence and we want these benefits to been joyed by communities that host our wind parks, that’s why we are making funds available to benefit the local community. £5,000 per installed megawatt would be delivered during the operational phase of the proposed development. Should 18 3.4MW machines be consented and installed this would equate to £306,000 per annum (indexed linked); or over £7.5 million over the 25 year lifetime of the proposed development. Read more about the advantages of wind power.

For further information on this please email us at upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk

Planning Updates 

On 24 May 2019, Scottish ministers refused our Upper Sonachan wind park on landscape grounds. The decision letter and report can be found on the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division website.

Ecotricity's founder Dale Vince said, "With great frustration and some climate irony our plan for 18 windmills in Scotland has been turned down for their visual impact. The boss of the country's nature conservation agency talks of "apocalypse" if they don't take urgent action to cut CO2 emissions.

"The climate emergency obliges us to change the balance of decision making. We don't have the luxury of being able to fuss over relatively trivial issues like the fact windmills are visible. We need more renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions, and we need it urgently."

Upper Sonachan Public Inquiry - 21 November 2017

Following Argyll and Bute Council’s recommendation for refusal a public inquiry was held at Dalmally Community Centre from 13 - 17 November. The inquiry primarily considered landscape, as well as hearing sessions relating to noise and the benefits of the scheme.

We think Upper Sonachan is a great location for 18 windmills – and we presented this case at the inquiry.

The Reporter (who analyses applications on behalf of the Scottish Government) will now write a recommendation to Scottish Ministers, who will make a final decision on the application. We hope to get that decision sometime during 2018.

Upper Sonachan Public Exhibitions - 29 September 2016

Ecotricity are holding two public exhibitions to discuss the Further Environmental Information and changes to our proposal for an eighteen turbine proposal for an eighteen turbine wind park on forested land between the B840 and the A819 near Portsonachan, Ardbrecknish and Cladich, 9.5km north of Inveraray.

  • Portsonachan Village Hall
  • Thursday 6th October 2016 1pm – 7pm
  • Kilchrenan Village Hall
  • Friday 7th October 2016 1pm – 7pm

Members of the Ecotricity team will be there to discuss the proposals.

The original submission and Further Environmental Information documentation is included on this page below.

If you’re unable to make it to either of these days but would like further information please do not hesitate in contacting us at:

Email:  upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk

Further Environmental Information - 22 September 2016

As requested by Scottish Government, Further Environmental Information for Upper Sonachan Wind Park has been forwarded to Scottish Government, consultees and viewing venues. In summary, the FEI provides further information in relation to ecology, ornithology, landscape, hydrology, forestry and peat, and includes the removal of Turbine 1 and the relocation of the substation.

Hard copies of the above documents are available for viewing at the following venues:

  • Oban Library, 77 Albany Street, Oban, PA34 4AL (Monday and Wednesday – 10:00am – 1:00pm, 2:00pm – 7:00pm, Thursday – 10:00am – 1:00pm, 2:00pm – 6:00pm, Friday – 10:00am – 1:00pm, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Saturday – 10:00am – 1:00pm)
  • Argyll and Bute Council Offices, Municipal Building, Albany Street, Oban, PA34 4AW (Monday to Friday 9.00am to 12.30pm then 1.30pm to 4.00pm)
  • Scottish Government Library, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ

Avich & Kilchrenan Community Council and Glenochry & Innishall Community Council will hold a full printed copy of the planning application, and Inveraray Community Council will have a CD copy.

Representations can be made by emailing the Scottish Government at  representations@gov.scot, or by writing to them at:

The Scottish Government
Energy Consents Unit
4th Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU

Identifying the proposal and specifying the grounds for representation, not later than 28th October 2016, although Ministers may consider representations received after this date.

All previous representations received in relation to this development remain valid.

If you have any questions about our proposal we would be happy to answer these. Just email us at upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk. Copies of the FEI and Environmental Statement may be obtained from Upper Sonachan Wind Park Limited (tel: 01453 790152) at a charge of £500 per hard copy and £10 on CD, £250 for a hard copy of the FEI and £10 on CD. Copies of a short non-technical summary are available free of charge.

Note: A grammatical error is shown in the legend entry on FEI Figure 2.12b Additional A1 ZTV to Tip. The entry reads "Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) to Turbine Hub (85m Hub Height, 2m Viewer Height)" whilst it should read "Zone of Theoretical Visibility (ZTV) to Blade Tip (136.5m Tip Height, 2m Viewer Height) 1 – 4 Turbine Tips Visible, 5 – 9 Turbine Tips Visible, 10 – 14 Turbine Tips Visible and 15 - 18 Turbine Tips Visible". The title and data on the Figure are correct. Given the minor nature of this grammatical error we have not replaced this plan. Consultees and viewing venues have been updated accordingly.

Planning Update - 01 April 2016

Following responses to the planning application we are now going through a process of discussion and re-consultation with some of the consultees to ensure that we fully understand their comments and to ascertain how any concerns can be addressed. The issues that have been raised relate mainly to landscape, hydrology, felling, ecology and ornithology. 

We envisage that further environmental information will be submitted in due course, and will of course advertise the information through the necessary channels. 

If you would like to speak with someone at Ecotricity to discuss our proposals please contact our Community Liaison Manager Chris Perkins on chris.perkins@ecotricity.co.uk

Met Mast update - 31 March 2016

The northern meteorological mast was successfully installed on 4th March 2016. This mast will work alongside the southern mast installed last year and the SODAR, a ground-based wind monitoring system.If you have any questions, you can get in touch using the following contact details:

Email: upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk Phone: 01463 223377

Upper Sonachan Met Mast Update - 26 February 2016

Following the planning permission for the northern meteorological mast being received and required felling undertaken, we are looking to install the mast week commencing 29 February, subject to a suitable weather window.

If you have any questions, you can get in touch using the following contact details:

Email: upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk

Phone: 01463 223377

Planning Application Validated - 06 November 2015

The planning application for Upper Sonachan Wind Park has been validated by the Scottish Government.

Hard copies of the above documents are available for viewing at the following venues:

  • Oban Library, 77 Albany Street, Oban, PA34 4AL (Monday and Wednesday – 10:00am – 1:00pm, 2:00pm – 7:00pm, Thursday – 10:00am – 1:00pm, 2:00pm – 6:00pm, Friday – 10:00am – 1:00pm, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Saturday – 10:00am – 1:00pm)
  • Argyll and Bute Council Offices, Municipal Building, Albany Street, Oban, PA34 4AW (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – 9:00am – 12:30pm, 1:30pm – 5:00pm, Wednesday – 10:00am – 12:30pm, 1:30pm to 5:00pm)
  • Scottish Government Library, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, EH6 6QQ

Avich & Kilchrenan Community Council and Glenochry & Innishall Community Council will hold a full printed copy of the planning application, and Inveraray Community Council will have a CD copy.

Representations can be made by emailing the Scottish Government at  representations_mailbox@gov.scot, or by writing to them at:

The Scottish Government
Energy Consents Unit
4th Floor
5 Atlantic Quay
150 Broomielaw
Glasgow
G2 8LU

Identifying the proposal and specifying the grounds for representation.

The consultation window closes on the 21st December 2015.

If you have any questions about our proposal we would be happy to answer these. Just email us at  upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk. Copies of the Environmental Statement may be obtained from Upper Sonachan Wind Park Limited (tel: 01453 790152) at a charge of £500 hard copy and £10 on CD. Copies of a short non-technical summary are available free of charge.

Upper Sonachan Public Exhibitions - 25 August 2015

Ecotricity are holding two public exhibitions to discuss our proposal for a nineteen turbine wind scheme on forested land between the B840 and the A819 near Portsonachan, Ardbrecknish and Cladich, 9.5km north of Inveraray.

  • Portsonachan Village Hall
  • Thursday 3rd September 2015 12 noon – 6.30pm
  • Kilchrenan Village Hall
  • Friday 4th September 2015 12 noon – 6.30pm

Members of the Ecotricity team will be there to discuss the proposals. If you’re unable to make it to either of these days please do not hesitate in contacting us at:

Email: upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk

Call: 01463 223377

Upper Sonachan Met Masts update - 29 July 2015

Following our post in January 2015, we received planning permission for both meteorological masts, and the southern mast has now been erected. We have amended the application for the northern mast to relocate it onto more suitable ground. Once the amended application has been determined, we will post a news update on this site. If you have any questions, you can get in touch using the following contact details: Email:  upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk Phone: 01463 223377

Upper Sonachan Scoping Report - 17 March 2015

A scoping request has now been submitted to the Scottish Government in the form of a Scoping Report. The Scoping Report and associated figures can be viewed from the PDF links below.

The scoping request will form the basis of our design of the site and we will continue to work with local stakeholders to include any appropriate local information into the design and environmental assessment.

As part of our ongoing design of the Upper Sonachan wind park we have reduced the upper tip height of turbines being considered at Upper Sonachan from 145 metres to 136.5 metres. This change has been made as a result of the pre-scoping consultation. This means that the visibility of the site will be reduced in some locations compared to the images that we showed at the recent Drop-in sessions.

In addition to Argyll and Bute Council, SNH, SEPA and a host of other strategic consultees, copies of the Scoping Report have been sent to Glenorchy and Innishail, Avich and Kilchrenan and Inveraray Community Councils.

If you have any queries please contact us at upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk.

Public Exhibition Summary - 18 February 2015

We held three Drop-in Sessions in late January and early February. These were at: Porsonachan (28th January), Lochawe (29th January) and Kilchrennan (4th February). Around 50 people visited us to hear more about the Upper Sonachan  proposal, ask questions and share their comments and views.

We sent out around 600 invitations to local residents, businesses, elected members and community councils and advertised the event in the Oban Times as well as on the Forrgyll.com and Loch-awe.com websites. We would also like to thank Glenorchy and Inishail, as well as, Avich and Kilchrnnan Community Councils for helping us to advertise these events.

The events were very useful and we are extremely appreciative of the constructive community feedback we received both at the event and afterwards. From the feedback we received, the main issues were: visual effects across Loch Awe, access for construction,potential construction and turbine noise, as well as, heritage and ecological impacts. We also received questions about Community Benefit and local energy issues.

If you couldn’t make it to the event, you can view specific detail on what’s been proposed, via the links to the documents below. If you have any questions about the proposal, please us on 01463 223377 or send us an email at upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk.

Upper Sonachan Wind Park Meteorological Monitoring Structure Applications - 23 January 2015

Planning applications for two temporary meteorological monitoring structures have been submitted by Argyll and Bute Council for consideration. The meteorological monitoring structures proposed are part of the ongoing environmental and technical feasibility assessment for a wind park at Upper Sonachan Forest.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Email: upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk

Phone: 01463 223377

Upper Sonachan Wind Park Public Additional Drop-in Date - 23 January 2015

Ecotricity have scheduled an extra Drop-in Session date to introduce proposals for a wind park at Kilchrenan Village Hall. Kilchrenan Village HallWednesday 4th February 2015 12 noon - 6:30pm

Members of the Ecotricity team will be there to discuss current proposals and the Environmental Impact Assessment work that is being undertaken.

If you’re unable to make it to any of our events and want more information, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Email: upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk Phone: 01463 223377

Upper Sonachan Wind Park Public Drop-in Sessions - 15 January 2015

Ecotricity are holding two public exhibitions to introduce proposals for a wind park in Upper Sonachan Forest between the B840 and A819 near Portsonachan, Ardbrecknish & Cladich. 9.5km north of Inverary in Argyll & Bute.

  • Portsonachan Village Hall
  • Wednesday 28th January 2015 12 noon - 7:30pm
  • Lochawe Community Village Hall
  • Thursday 29th January 2015 12 noon - 7.30pm

Members of the Ecotricity team will be there to discuss current proposals and the Environmental Impact Assessment work that is being undertaken.

If you’re unable to make it to the drop in session and want more information, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Email: upper-sonachan@ecotricity.co.uk

Phone: 01463 223377