Community Engagement for a Hoolan Energy Wind Development in Orkney


Last week we took part in our first full hands-on community engagement experience (although VentusAR has previously been used in many events by our clients themselves).

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We were commissioned by Hoolan Energy to provide visualisations for pre planning consultations on two Wind Farms on the Orkney Islands – Costa Head and Hesta Head.

Aerial photography of the Hesta Project

Aerial Photography Overlaid on a DTM Showing the Hesta Head Site

The first event on Wednesday was for the Costa Head site. The development is for up to five turbines up to 125m to tip.  We used a model of Vestas V105 turbines, with 72.5m height to hub and 52.5m blade length for visualisations.  Costa Head is located on the north west of the Orkney mainland and the event itself took place in the Birsay Community Hall.

On Thursday we were showcasing the Hesta Head site. Once again the development was for five Vesta V105 turbines with the same vital statistics as the Costa site. These would be located on the south east of South Ronaldsay, with the event taking place at the Cromarty Hall in St Margaret’s Hope.

We arrived with two visualisation options for each event – the first being a video show reel consisting of animated turbines displayed on viewpoint photography to demonstrate the extent of the project. The other was a bespoke piece of development work to allow instant visuals from any given postcode. This latter approach then used aerial photography as an overlay to allow quick and personalised views for attendees, allowing them to visualise the developments from any location such as their own properties or views of particular interest.

A busy couple of days saw around 150 members of the local communities attend the events, eager to understand more about the developments.  We also had the opportunity to engage with local authority planning officers and members of the community council. They were impressed with the level of information available to hand and could identify how the turbines would look from locations that matter to them.

All in all, a successful trip with feedback from “that’s a nifty bit of software” to “I can give better feedback now I know how it affects me”.

Lizzie Foot, Director at Hoolan said:

“The visualisations provided gave members of the public great quality and interactive viewpoints – the instant visuals from any given postcode were particularly well received.  Neither the show reel nor the instant visuals required internet connection and having David on hand to instantly respond to residents’ queries was helpful.  Would highly recommend and can see the benefit for future site visits in the field.”

You can read more about this on the Hoolan Energy website – http://www.hoolanenergy.com/

Please feel free to download the Hoolan_VAR_CaseStudy

If you are interested in how we can enhance your public engagement events – please get in touch on 0141 559 6170 or email hello@ventusar.com