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Statkraft UK Wind Farm in Loch Laith to Help Rural Broadband

Friday, May 19th, 2023 (9:54 am) - Score 696

The UK division of Norwegian renewable energy generator firm, Statkraft, has commissioned mapping firm FarrPoint to conduct a study of their proposed Loch Liath wind farm in Scotland, near Loch Ness. The work could help to facilitate the rollout of faster broadband into remote rural communities in the surrounding area.

At present the edges of Loch Ness, as well as some of its largest shoreline communities, are already being reasonably well served by a mix of gigabit FTTP and slower FTTC broadband from Openreach. But the same is not true for the many sparse communities that surround Loch Laith.

NOTE: A planning application for the new farm was submitted on 18th May 2023.

However, the proposed Loch Liath Wind Farm, which could become home to 13 turbines and operate for 30-35 years, may help to change the above situation. The wind farm will consist of turbines at a combination of 180m and 200m tip heights. If consented, the project will generate enough energy to power 78,000 Scottish householders every year.

Assuming the plan goes ahead, Statkraft would then be in a position to release funding and help facilitate the deployment of new broadband solutions to the remotest areas. FarrPoint’s full report, once completed, will thus aim to present a number of options for improving broadband in communities surrounding the site. The report will also take account of parallel improvements being supported by the Scottish Government (e.g. R100), which sadly won’t reach everybody in the area.

Heather Lafferty, Statkraft’s Senior Project Manager for Loch Liath, said:

“We have a good neighbour ethos at Statkraft, and always try to bring extra value to local communities. Local people often ask if we can help with broadband and so I’m really pleased that we have been able to commission this study, which will provide much-needed broadband insights for community stakeholders and leaders to take forward.”

Further superfast broadband studies are planned for other Statkraft projects in the Highlands. Each will be tailored to the particular conditions within their respective communities, so that they are of maximum use. All of this stems from the fact that the farm itself needs a good broadband link in order to ensure proper operation, which can often be used to help provide capacity for a wider network that reaches into local communities.

Naturally, a company that builds such tall structures is most likely to promote some form of Line-of-Sight (LOS) based Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) technology for distribution, since running FTTP to every home in such a remote area is unlikely to be economically viable for a project of this limited scale. But we’ll have to await the final report before being able to see what is and is not feasible.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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