Archive for October 2011
Future looking good for Machrihanish wind turbine tower factory
The wind turbine tower factory at Machrihanish that was saved from closure in May is ‘making good progress’, according to its new owners, Wind Towers Ltd. Production is now well under way at the Argyll plant on a 32-tower order for Clyde Wind Farm, and the company has also qualified as a supplier to turbine firm Siemens.
The factory, which employs 82 people in the Campbeltown and Mull of Kintyre areas, was bought by Wind Towers, a joint venture between SSE and Marsh Wind Technology, after Danish parent firm Skykon filed for bankruptcy. Skykon had in turn taken over the operation in Spring 2009 after the previous owners Vestas decided to close it.
Michael Nielsen, general manager of Wind Towers, said: “Production started smoothly and we have already managed to qualify as a supplier of towers to Siemens Wind Power.” The company has also begun efforts to qualify as a supplier for Vestas.
Mr Nielsen added: “There is a well-educated workforce eager to make our plant a success and I am convinced we will also achieve qualification with other turbine manufacturers.”
In addition to restarting production, the plant is completing major upgrades including new manufacturing equipment. The upgrades will be operational by the end of November, which the company said would allow the plant to produce “just about every wind turbine tower currently on the market”.
David Steele, head of UK business development at Wind Towers, said: “We’ve recently signed a major service contract with Scottish Power Renewables supporting the further development of Beinn an Tuirc II wind farm. The project is already under way and will be completed by February 2012. Overall, we have a forward order visibility until mid-2012 and we’re confident we will continue production on a stable basis afterwards.”
In addition to Siemens Wind Power and Vestas, discussion about future collaboration has started with other major turbine manufacturers including RePower, GE, EWT and Mitsubishi.
Crown Estate approves 5 offshore wind sites
The Crown Estate has approved a further five major offshore windfarm sites in Scottish waters:
- Argyll Array – 5km to the W. Tiree
- Islay – 13km (8mls) off the west coast of Islay
- Neart na Gaoithe – 15km off the coast of Fife.
- Inch Cape - Firth of Tay, approximately 15km off the Angus coast
- Beatrice offshore wind farm - Moray Firth, close to the Beatrice oil field
Between them these five projects will have the potential to produce 5GW of electricity, which will double the total capacity for which leases have so far been agreed.
Most controversial of these is the Argyll Array, which protestors claim will overshadow Tiree and change the whole character of the island. The project – which has the potential to generate anywhere between 500MW to 1800MW – was included in the Scottish Government’s list of offshore wind projects approved to proceed to planning application in March this year, but will still require final individual approval from Holyrood before it goes ahead.
Pre-Application Consultation on Coire Glas Hydro-Electric Scheme
SSE Renewables Developments (UK) Ltd is proposing to develop a pumped storage hydro electric scheme of up to 600MW capacity to the NOrth-West of Loch Lochy ion the Great Glen.
The proposed scheme would involve the construction of a dam and creation of a new reservoir formed at Loch a’ Choire Ghlais. Water would be transferred between the new reservoir and an underground cavern power station via a headrace tunnel, and between the power station and Loch Lochy via a tailrace tunnel.
The site is ideal for the development of a new large-scale pumped hydro scheme because of its proximity to a large lower reservoir (Loch Lochy) and its significant elevation of around 500m between the upper and lower reservoir sites over a relatively short distance.
There will be a public exhibition on Wednesday 9th November 2011 from 1pm to 7pm at Glengarry Community Hall.
For further information see the link below or contact:
Susan Scobie of SSE Corporate Affairs,
200, Dunkeld Road
Hen harriers prevail, but other onshore wind projects remain on track
Following extensive consultation with key stakeholders SSE Renewables has requested that the Scottish Government withdraw the application for a proposed 72.5MW wind farm at Waterhead Moor near Largs in North Ayrshire. SSE remarked in their press release that “the development of the project has faced a range of construction and planning challenges.” and went on to say that “the proposal was initiated prior to the site being designated as a European Special Protection Area which also added complexity”.
The RSPB have fought a long battle with SSE over Waterhead Moor since the site was designated an SPA for hen harriers.
Aedán Smith, Head of Planning and Development at RSPB Scotland, said: “This is fantastic and welcome news from SSE. It is very encouraging that they give part of their reason for their withdrawal as being due to the environmental importance of the site.”
He continued: “The vast majority of windfarms pose no significant threat to wild bird populations. This is reflected by the fact that the RSPB only ends up maintaining objections to less than 10% of the windfarms we get involved with across the UK. For the most part, the renewables industry acts responsibly and does not propose development in areas that are important for wildlife. Today’s announcement by SSE illustrates that responsible attitude”
David Gardner, SSE’s Director of Onshore Renewables, commented: “This site had the wind resource and the site dynamics to be a very good project, but having listened to the concerns of the key consultees we have concluded that the reasonable action to take is to focus our resources on onshore wind farms elsewhere. We are grateful to all those who took part in the project consultations.”
This news comes only a day after RenewableUK’s concern expressed on Tuesday that onshore wind planning approvals in Britain had sunk to “alarming levels”.
SSE remains committed to onshore wind and recently submitted an application for a 171 megawatt extension to Clyde Wind Farm to the Scottish Government. Good progress is also being made in Scottish onshore wind construction projects with the South Section of Clyde Wind Farm complete and a total of 76 of 152 turbines constructed. Griffin wind farm in Perthshire now has 56 of 68 turbines erected and Gordonbush Wind Farm in Sutherland has 10 turbines constructed and is on course to be completed by March 2012.
Another £4.2 milion available for EVs and charging points
Another £4.2m has been made available to encourage public bodies to use low carbon vehicles, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure & Capital Investment, Alex Neil announced yesterday.
Today’s funding announcement, which help towards Scotland’s target of cutting emissions by 42% by 2020, builds on over £4.3 million made available last year to local authorities who received funding to help to replace conventionally-powered vehicles with low carbon alternatives.
Mr Neil said:
“The Scottish Government has set world leading targets to cut emissions and tackle climate change, so it is vital that funding like this is made available to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles and help develop a network of charging points. This extra funding will allow local authorities and their community planning partners to bridge the gap between the cost of petrol or diesel powered vehicles and their electric powered equivalents, and help drive down air-polluting emissions.”
“We are determined to build on the good work carried out as a direct result of funding announced last year which has enabled Scotland’s public services to purchase 145 low carbon vehicles, including cars, vans and even street sweepers, and install 74 charging points across the country. This work will pave the way for the future uptake of electric vehicles amongst the general public.”
£4.2m has been provided this year to 32 community planning partnerships in Scotland with allocations based on levels of population in each local authority area. The funding can be used to fund the difference in cost between a conventionally powered vehicles and it’s electric equivalent. The Scheme covers most types of electric vehicles and plug in hybrids (cars, small vans, larger cans, sweepers and HGVs). Funding can also be used to install charging points to support the use of the electric vehicles purchased. These are being installed as part of the UK Government’s Plugged in Places Scheme, with Transport Scotland leading the project in Scotland.