First Scottish Community Wind Turbine Erected

An important milestone in the development of renewable energy in Scotland was reached with the construction of a new landmark on the Orkney islands’ skyline. The 850 kW wind turbine standing on top of a 44 meter tower at Northfield, Burray, has been fully funded by a consortium of Orkney resident’s who aim to re-invest the profit the machine generates into similar developments elsewhere in the country.

“This project has resulted in the first commercial community wind turbine constructed in Scotland,” said Albert Spence, one of the founder directors of Orkney Renewable Energy Ltd. The Scottish Executive has supported small-scale projects through the Scottish Community and Householder Initiative. However this project is a real innovative step, bringing community ownership and involvement at the commercial scale. The project was a brainchild of the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum over two years ago and has been achieved by a group of independent people from the local community investing their own resources and expertise, with no loans or grants from the public sector or banks. The Scottish turbine from Campbeltown-based Vestas-Celtic Wind Technology is capable of supplying power for around 440 homes, and arrived in Kirkwall as a kit waiting to be assembled. The blades were sent first aboard a ferry from Aberdeen, with the two-section tower and nacelle following on a later crossing. All the component parts were then delivered by road to Burray, where the tower and nacelle were erected during a lull in the strong Orkney winds. Three days later, the hub and three blades that form the rotor were lifted into place during an early morning operation. Where possible the civil engineering, electrical works and crane hire at the site have been carried out by local companies, further ensuring that all financial benefits are retained within Orkney. The Scottish Agricultural Organization Society with the support of the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum and ORE Ltd have put a proposal to Orkney Islands council for funding support to create an investment club, which would allow others in Orkney to take a stake in the future development of renewable energy. “We are concerned about those unable to invest directly in the project and are making every effort to provide an investment vehicle to allow people to invest smaller sums in the project, ensuring our community project is socially inclusive,” Spence said. “In summary we have investigated every possibility of community ownership and feel the ORE Ltd model to be the most socially inclusive.” This isn’t just a one-time arrangement either. Spence sees the value in such an arrangement being replicated elsewhere. “True community involvement can only come through ownership and we think the best way ahead is to construct single machines or small groups of machines, which are owned and operated by local people,” Spence said. “In order to protect our objectives we decided that all shareholders in our company would have to be resident or their business registered in Orkney. This way all of the profits generated will remain within the islands. This model can be used for projects elsewhere in Scotland.”
Previous articleGas to Biomass Conversion at NY Plant
Next articleRE Partnership Lands UK Funding Boost

No posts to display