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December 8, 2010

Tiree blows in the right direction

The Hebridean island of Tiree is so low lying that it’s known as the “land beneath the waves”.  It’s also known to wind surfers across the world for its fantastic wind and waves. The annual pilgrimage of hundreds of the world’s top windsurfers is a major boon to the island’s economy but the island’s wind is also blowing cash into the community’s coffers from a different source– and they’ve just scooped a national award for their efforts

Speaking at the organisation’s annual dinner and awards for outstanding contribution to the growth of the industry in Edinburgh Chief Executive Niall Stuart acknowledged the part played by companies such as the Tiree Renewable Energy Company in driving forward the industry:

“Congratulations to the Tiree Renewable Energy Company. Together, this year’s Green Energy Award winners will deliver huge economic and environmental benefits to communities across Scotland, and it’s all thanks to the determination, ambition and ideas of companies like the Tiree Renewable Energy Company.  

Ann Kirby, a director of Tiree Renewable Energy, said, “We successfully concluded four years of hard work this year when we switched on the 900kw community turbine. We are now involved in helping other communities throughout Scotland, England and Wales to progress other renewable projects with total capacity in excess of 20 MW.

“We’re delighted to be sharing our experience and knowledge with other remote and fragile communities from South Wales to Shapinsay, Tolsta to Fetterangus so others can benefit from the natural resources around them to work towards a stable and secure future.”

Speaking on behalf of ScottishPower Renewables, sponsors of the Best Community Initiative Award, Keith Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Scottish Power Renewables has sponsored this award for many years now as working with communities is a key part of all our projects and it is encouraging to see so many local people embracing renewable energy. All the nominees for this award have worked extremely hard to involve their communities and we hope they continue their efforts for years to come.”

Background to project  

The principle motivation for the development of the turbine by the Tiree Renewable Energy Company Limited (TREL), owned by the island’s Community Development Trust has been the requirement contribute to the financing of various projects proposed under the island’s development plan. The plan, developed by the island’s community, identified a number of areas for potential investment on Tiree, including an island swimming pool, improved harbour facilities for local fishermen and visiting yachts, better facilities for local businesses, affordable housing and support for youth groups on the island.

Update on the progress of Tilley the Turbine

October was a cracking month for production despite the calm period during Wave Classic week. Even during the quietest day, the turbine turned for at least 11 hours. The second week of the month and 11 and 12 October in particular were very calm days but the first and last weeks of the month more than made up for this. Tilley generated 368 MWh in October, 34 MWh ahead of the predicted estimated. She has now produced 1,780 MWh since 27 March and we’re 278 MWh ahead of estimates for the year to date. This gives us a good cushion to cover calm periods or downtime. We are consistently outperforming the nearest Enercon E-44 turbine, at Liniclate on Benbecula, by 10%. That machine is the second best performing turbine of this type in Europe!

TREL hopes to transfer its first income to the Trust at the end of the month/early December. Although this first amount will only be a modest amount, it will allow the Trust to promote the Windfall Fund. A Public launch will be held in the New Year when the process and criteria for applying for grants will be explained.