Whitelee Windfarm has been breath of fresh air in efforts to go green

Whitelee Windfarm has been breath of fresh air in efforts to go green

Whitelee Windfarm has been breath of fresh air in efforts to go green

An East Renfrewshire wind farm has been hailed as a “national success story,” a decade on from its official opening.

Whitelee windfarm is the largest onshore wind project in the UK, was created to significantly boost the number of homes powered by renewable energy. It began generating electricity in January 2008 and was officially connected to the National Grid a year later.

Whitelee Windfarm economic, environmental and social benefits

On Friday, a report was published into the economic, environmental and social benefits of the Whitelee Windfarm. It notes that it has generated enough clean, green energy to provide almost 90 per cent of total annual household electricity consumed by Scottish households and businesses.

  • The report also highlights that the wind farm is expected to provide a boost to the UK economy of more than £1billion, including almost £800million in Scotland.
  • The wind farm, in a rural location near Eaglesham, was found to have supported more than 4,000 jobs during its peak years of construction while sustaining around 600 jobs each year through its operation and maintenance.
  • Enough carbon dioxide is saved by the wind farm, the report notes, that it is the equivalent of offsetting two days’ worth of domestic flights to and from Gatwick Airport.

Lindsay McQuade, of ScottishPower Renewables, which owns and operates Whitelee Windfarm said efforts to achieve Scotland’s environmental targets can be achieved through working with industry and are underpinned through legislation.

“We know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy and therefore should be part of Scotland, and the UK’s, low carbon, cost-effective electricity system,” said Ms McQuade.

“Since the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008, a number of progressive policy measures have been put in place that has enabled Scotland to become coal-free.

“Working with industry and government, the same approach is now needed to ensure we continue to invest in much-needed renewable generation and thereby achieve this objective and support action to tackle the climate emergency facing us.

“Whitelee WindFarm is a great example of what effective policy can deliver. It’s a national success story.

“Every year, it produces the equivalent clean energy to power each and every electric vehicle currently in the UK, preventing over five million tonnes of carbon emissions had this energy come from fossil fuels.

“The decarbonisation of our economy, transport and heating systems can all be achieved through existing technology but that has to include onshore wind if we are to decarbonise by 2050.”

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Multi-million Moray Firth wind farm wins approval

Multi-million Moray Firth wind farm wins approval

Multi-million Moray West wind farm wins approval

Resident Johnny Ewart examines Moray West Offshore wind farm plans at a community consultation meeting.

The giant Moray West wind farm project has been given the go-ahead by authorities, with the project boss calling it “major hurdle” to overcome. The 100-turbine Moray West Offshore Wind Farm was given marine consent by the Scottish Government yesterday afternoon. The Moray West project is the sister site for the huge Moray East Offshore Wind farm that began construction last month.

The project completing all the permissions necessary for the development to compete in the upcoming UK government Contracts for difference (CfD) auction this summer.

The wind project will look to create up to 150 jobs and add £90 million to the local economy, developers have said.

It aims to provide power for more than 900,000 homes.

Developer EDP Renewables stressed the company’s commitment to supporting local firms in the Aberdeenshire and Moray region during the announcement of the project last year.

Subject to winning a CfD, the 800 megawatt (MW) development will commence construction in 2022.

Dan Finch, director of Moray West said: “We’re getting amazing support right now from people who would’ve originally been the oil and gas industry but are now working with us and investing.

“We’ve got to be competitive to win, and projects built today are at the lowest price we’ve ever seen. “A future project like this one could be even lower, in terms of cost.”

A proposed objection to the giant wind project was thrown out in November last year due to the claims being considered “subjective”.
Councillor Maxine Smith of the Cromarty Firth Ward said concerns published in the North Planning Applications Committee report claiming the development would “dominate the horizon” were not deemed to be “of any significance”.
Mr Finch added: “This has all been a bit last minute but this is great news.

“We will complete the application for the CfD next week and will take part in the bid. “Our staff have been simply amazing. “We hope to hear of a positive result around the end of summer, beginning of autumn.”

Last week, Highland energy firm Global Energy Group’s (Geg) Port of Nigg was announced as the location of a new ‘staging port’ for 103 completed jacket structures before their transportation out to the Moray East site.

The new contract, agreed with contractor Deme Offshore, could also see the creation of around 90 jobs as the site takes receipt of the 100 turbine jackets and three substations.

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Inch Cape offshore wind project granted consent for fewer turbines

Inch Cape offshore wind project granted consent for fewer turbines

The giant Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm project has announced it has received consent from the Scottish Government to reduce the number of turbines at the site

  • The new design will see the number of turbines cut from the originally consented 110 turbines to 72.
  • Fewer turbines at the site will be a result of the project using taller, higher capacity structures.
  • It is expected to bring at least £558m and 858 jobs over the course of the project.
  • Developers Red Rock Power tabling a fresh proposal in August.
  • The existing consent, granted in 2013, is still valid for the proposed development, planned 9 miles off the Angus coastline.
  • Inch Cape Offshore Limited (ICOL) will compete in the upcoming UK Government consent auction later this month.

Ben King, offshore consents manager at ICOL, said: “The opportunity to propose an alternative design, which will see significant economic benefits and reduced risk of environmental impacts, is testament to how new technologies are continuing to transform the industry and bring improved benefits to the consumer.

“Securing approval is a key step forward ahead of our CfD bid and while our previous consent remains valid, the progression of our plans and work over the last few months very much focused around this new design.”

The Inch Cape offshore wind development is 100% owned by Red Rock Power through Chinese investment by SDIC Power Holdings, who also bankrolled 25% of the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm development currently in construction.

Read more about the project here

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Flying Whales’ giant airship could deliver turbine blades to windfarms

Flying Whales’ giant airship could deliver turbine blades to windfarms

Flying Whales’ giant airship could deliver turbine blades to windfarms – if it doesn’t float away

The LCA60T could be the world’s biggest cargo airship (Credit: Flying Whales)

Transporting wind-turbine blades is a pain – comically long beams are strapped to lorries, which wend their way through thin and winding roads towards the coast or remote installation sites at a snail’s pace. Could there be another way?

Looking like something from an early 1990s video game, a polygonal model airship from French company Flying Whales hangs above delegates’ heads in hall 2A of the Paris Air Show.

The model airship

The blimp is not exactly representative of how the company’s final aircraft will look, says aeronautic and design engineer Nicolas Weisse to Professional Engineering, as the production airship will have much smoother conventional aerodynamic covering. The model does have one key feature, though – the gaping cargo bay in its belly, stretching almost from tip to tail.

The company says its helium-lifted LCA60T will be the world’s largest cargo delivery airship when it launches in 2022, and the hold will be 80m x 8m x 5m. Although the largest offshore wind-turbine blades are fast outstripping those dimensions, Flying Whales says its vehicle could be ideal for transporting several onshore turbine blades at a time – either in the hold or in a yet-to-be-designed hanging frame designed to minimise wind catching the blades while in flight.

The aircraft will have a rigid structure of carbon-fibre lattices, says Weisse. “It’s not the pressure that gives the shape, but we have a gas bag inside the airship and the shape is given by the structure.” Ten cells will contain the helium, with space to let it expand to 98% of volume at the maximum altitude of 3,000m. It will cruise at about 100km/h.

Up, up and away

Using airships to deliver massive payloads of up to 60 tonnes will bring a major engineering challenge, says Weisse. “It is not like a helicopter – when we land a blade, we lose some weight, so if we don’t take another weight we are going up in the air, higher and higher like a Mickey Mouse balloon.”

They plan to use water as ballast. Pumps installed at delivery sites will send water up to the ship to prevent it from rising uncontrollably after delivering cargo. Pick-ups will require the pilot – one of just two crew members alongside a loadmaster – to spray water out in rain-like drops to prevent dangerous, potentially flooding dumps.

The company hopes several propellers, electrically powered by an internal fuel turbine, will make the aircraft highly manoeuvrable. It has at least five, including a swivelling lateral propeller.

Despite the high level of control, Weisse says the LCA60T will not be able to lower blades into position at the top of turbine towers to be connected in-flight. “It could be possible, but not with this technology,” he says. “The market we’re developing is to land the wind blade close to the tower.”

Onshore boost

Such a system could be useful in the UK, where clean energy organisations such as Renewable UK are urging the government to allow more onshore windfarms. Other countries are more receptive to the technology and have bigger installations.

The airship’s principal use, however, might not be so popular with the renewable energy sector – the original reason for the project was a mission from the French state, which wants to use it to access remote and difficult-to-reach forests for logging.

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Renewable electricity capacity continues for UK Wind and Solar ‘hit Q1 high’

Renewable electricity capacity continues for UK Wind and Solar ‘hit Q1 high’

Wind and solar output in the UK achieved a record share of nearly 24% of electricity generation in the first quarter of 2019.

In the figures, released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), total renewable generation increased by 9.2% on the same quarter last year to 31.1 terawatt hours (TWh).

As a result, renewables’ share of electricity generation was a near record 35.8% in the first quarter (Q1) of this year, up 5.3% on the share in the same quarter of last year, and reflective of increased capacity.

According to the department’s figures the UK’s renewable electricity capacity reached 45GW at the end of March, a 7.9% increase on a year earlier, mostly due to increased capacity for onshore and offshore wind and plant biomass.

In Q1 2019 onshore wind generation increased by 4.8% to 9.8TWh, whilst offshore wind increased by 7.3% to 8.6TWh.

As a result, total wind generation increased by 6% to 18.4TWh, just short of the record which had been set in in the last quarter of 2018.

Solar generation increased by 19%, from 1.8TWh in 2018 Q1 to 2.1TWh in 2019 Q1.

In Scotland renewable electricity generation reached record levels in Q1 2019, according to the figures from BEIS, reaching 8877 gigawatt hours (GWh), an increase of 17% on Q1 2018.

The latest statistics also show that the growth of Scotland’s renewable electricity capacity continues, rising from 10.4GW in March 2018 to 11.3GW in March 2019.

The Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “These figures show Scotland’s renewable energy sector continues to go from strength to strength.

“Last year, we were able to meet the equivalent of almost 74% of our electricity demand from renewable sources, and the first quarter in 2019 shows that positive trend continues.

“We are seeing the growing importance of offshore wind, with capacity and generation both continuing to rise – with further projects under construction.”

He said that despite “damaging policy changes” from the UK Government, particularly the removal of an effective route to market for onshore wind, the Scottish Government continues to provide strong support for Scotland’s renewable energy sector.

“Generation and infrastructure investment continues, not least because of the importance in preventing the damaging impacts of climate change,” Wheelhouse added.

Wind Farms

Powersystems has connected 24% of all Onshore Wind Farms. Experience in the design and installation of high voltage electrical infrastructure has placed Powersystems in a position ideally suited to carryout wind farm electrical balance of plant contracts. 

Solar Parks

There has been a large uptake in the number of solar parks being granted planning consent in the UK, and Powersystems has been involved with many of these providing grid connection schemes at 11kV & 33kV. Each scheme is designed by our team of engineers and covers the requirements of the DNO substation, site wide earthing and cabling to the point of connection. The whole process is managed, from initial connection application to final energisation and adoption.

 

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Limekiln Wind Farm consent will look to create up to 200 jobs

Limekiln Wind Farm consent will look to create up to 200 jobs

New Caithness onshore wind project, Limekiln Wind Farm granted Scottish Government consent will look to create up to 200 jobs during the construction phase.

Developers of Limekiln Wind Farm, Infinergy and Boralex, have been given the green-light to start building the 21-turbine, 90 megawatt (MW) development south of Reay in Caithness.

The project consent submission claims it could bring £39m to the Scottish economy and £14m to the Highland economy.

Limekiln Wind Farm Construction

Limekiln Wind Farm, which developers also claim could bring £5.8 to Caithness and North Sutherland, is due to begin construction in 2021.

It’s also been suggested that the project could deliver £315, 000 a year over the 25-year of the wind farm.

UK-firm Infinergy and Canadian company Boralex said they expect the development to be fully operational by 2022.

Patrick Lemaire, Boralex’s president and chief executive, said: “The Limekiln Wind Farm is our first project in Scotland, and we are delighted to be making our first step in diversifying our portfolio across Europe.

Infinergy and Boralex announced the execution of a 50-50 joint venture agreement in October 2017, aimed at developing a pipeline of onshore wind projects, including the Limekiln Wind Farm project in Scotland.

Esbjorn Wilmar, managing director of Infinergy, said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government has given consent to Limekiln Wind Farm.

“We always knew that the site was an excellent one, and would ultimately prove its credentials, which includes being sited outside a Wild Land Area, through the planning process.”

Mr Lemaire added: “We believe this project will contribute to reduce carbon emissions to help meet the Scottish Government’s ambitious electricity generation targets and also provide significant investment and economic benefits to the local area as well as helping address the very real climate emergency we all face.

“We look forward to taking this project forwards toward the next steps of financing, construction and operation.”

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