Onshore wind energy

Onshore wind energy is the UK’s largest source of renewable energy generation. As the cost of onshore wind continues to fall, this mature technology is also one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy and is set to continue to provide a valuable contribution to the UK’s energy mix for the foreseeable future. The UK and Scotland in particular, with some of the best wind resources in Europe, provide excellent opportunities for further expansion of this established industry. Onshore wind has been an integral part of the work undertaken by Aquatera over the past decade, with the Aquatera team providing a valued role to developers helping them to successfully navigate their projects through the planning system.


Aquatera has undertaken strategic planning projects for onshore wind in Orkney, Shetland and the Highland Region of Scotland.  These strategic studies identified over 4 GW of consentable wind energy across the 3 regions.

Within our team of staff and associates we have experienced specialists in site design, grid connections, GIS modelling, ReSoft Wind Farm software, land use and access, ornithology, ecology, visibility modelling and noise modelling, as well as socio-economic impacts and community engagement.  We also have strategic alliances with delivery partners for conducting archaeology and cultural heritage assessments, noise assessments and landscape and visual impact assessments.

Our team of consultants bring a range of perspectives which lends a depth and integrity to the EIA and strategic planning work we undertake. This includes engaging all stakeholders with the issues associated with a proposed development, in order to ensure that consultation feedback is incorporated and decision making is as well informed as possible. 


In addition to our usual portfolio of Onshore Services, we bring particular expertise to the onshore wind sector in:

  •          Strategic planning for wind energy
  •          Site finding and layout optimisation
  •          Ornithological surveys
  •          Ecological surveys (Phase 1 habitats, protected species (otters))
  •          Analysis and optimisation of turbines for optimising yield and reducing visibility
  •          Tools for establishing the levels of landscape impact
  •          Community communications and engagement
  •          Community ownership


Aquatera have been involved in over 50 different projects ranging from small micro-turbine installations to larger wind farm projects up to 20 MW.  Tasks have ranged from providing basic planning support and photography for micro-wind projects to provision of full EIA services for larger scale developments from conducting baseline studies, to scoping, EIA and Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA). 

  • Costa Head Wind Farm  (Orkney) and Hesta Head Wind Farm (Orkney) - Tasks undertaken for Hoolan Energy for these two 20.4 MW developments included Stakeholder engagement, Strategic Advice, provision of Ornithology and Socio-economic ES chapters.  Additional tasks for Hesta Head Wind Farm included provision of ornithological surveys. Planning applications submitted in December 2016  (Costa) and February 2017 (Hesta)
  • Binga Fea Wind Farm, (Hoy, Orkney) - Scoping, EIA, ornithological surveys for a two-turbine (1.8 MW) development.  Planning consent obtained in 2012
  • Tresdale Wind Farm, (Canisbay, Caithness) - Scoping,  EIA and ornithological surveys for a three-turbine (6.9 MW) wind farm.  Planning application submitted May 2015
  • Spurness Wind Farm, (Sanday, Orkney) - Provision of Ecological Clerk of Works services for SSE-Renewables during the re-powering of Spurness Wind Farm.  This involved the decommissioning of 3 existing wind turbines and the construction of 5 turbines and associated infrastructure
  • Ocklester Wind Farm, (Orkney) - Scoping, stakeholder consultation, ornithological surveys, ecological surveys, noise assessment, LVIA, peat depth analysis and groundwater assessment