A proposal to construct a major wind farm in Aberdeenshire has moved a step closer.

A Section 36 planning application has been submitted by renewable energy firm RES for a 16-turbine wind farm at Hill of Fare.

RES says the project, located around 6km north of Banchory, could deliver a £150 million boost for the local economy.

The firm also predicts the wind farm will deliver some £14 million in inward investment to Aberdeenshire during the construction phase.

It also argues that operations and maintenance will see around £66m of economic activity while topping up Aberdeenshire Council’s coffers to the tune of £50m over the lifetime of the project.

A tailored community benefit package would be worth £5,000 per megawatt or the equivalent of installed capacity per annum, or a total of £26.4 million over the operational lifetime of the project. This includes a ‘local energy discount scheme’ which offers an annual discount on the electricity bills of those properties closest to the wind farm.

The proposed Hill of Fare Wind Farm, which has been through detailed site assessment work should deliver an installed capacity of 105.6 MW, providing enough electricity to power more than 100,000 homes each year.

As part of the plan, RES is exploring the possibility of introducing a cultural heritage walking trail, with interpretation boards and the creation of designated pathways to access monuments.

An old shooting lodge on the site could also be renovated to provide shelter for walkers and give visitors information.

The location was first earmarked as a potential site by the local authority in 2017, and the firm launched a public consultation on the plan in 2022.

Following the consultation, the project has undergone a number of modifications, including a reduction in turbine heights from 250m to a mix of 200m and 180m, while the number of turbines has been reduced by one to 16.

RES is a privately owned firm that has been developing windfarms in Scotland since 1993 from its Glasgow office.

Since then it has developed 21 windfarms in Scotland with a generating capacity of 597 MW.