February 12, 2014
Hard slog pays off.
When the community took ownership of the North Harris estate in 2003, planning started almost immediately to try to capitalise on the island’s renewable energy resource. 10 years on, all that work is about to bear fruit. But this is a project that’s had some major obstacles to overcome. There’s no shortage of wind on Harris but when strong winds combine with big hills, wind flows become highly problematic. Securing enough finance for this community/private developer joint venture proved almost as tricky.
Windflow UK Limited and the North Harris Trust are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement to construct a wind project at Monan, on North Harris in the Outer Hebrides. The project is located on an elevated ridge about 5 miles north of Tarbert and will use three 500 kW Windflow 500s manufactured by Windflow in New Zealand. It will be constructed during 2014.
This project has been under development for several years, but stumbled because of the difficult wind conditions caused by the proximity of large mountains such as the Clisham, the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides at 799 metres (2,621 ft). The Windflow 500 has been designed – and independently certified by Lloyds Register – to operate for 20 years in “class 1A” wind regime, which is the toughest classification defined by IEC 61400, the design standard for wind turbines. With its 33 m rotor the Windflow 500 is large enough to generate useful amounts of electricity, but small enough to minimise visibility and get onto difficult sites using standard-sized lorries and roads.
A joint venture company called Monan Wind Company Limited has been set up to build and operate the project. North Harris Trust owns 10% of this joint venture through its Trading Company and will receive a rent on behalf of the community for the life of the project. In addition to Windflow’s turbines, the project will involve civil, electrical and turbine installation works, and operations and maintenance service. Windflow will shortly start to engage locally with contractors for procurement.
Andy Strowbridge, Windflow UK’s General Manager, said:
“We are delighted to be partnering with The North Harris Trust to bring this iconic community project to fruition. We realise that the spectacular location has a flip side, with difficult access and a truly challenging wind regime. Fortunately we have experience from other demanding sites where Windflow turbines operate. We look forward to working with North Harris Trust and the local community to turn their wind into a long term legacy.”
Calum MacKay, Chair of The North Harris Trust said:
“We set out in 2003 to develop the Monan site. Directors have worked doggedly to find a way through the many set-backs thrown their way. After over ten years, it looks as though this year we will see turbines on the site. This project will bring much-needed new income to the Trust and the local community.”
Windflow UK Limited sells, builds, owns and operates wind projects, and is wholly owned by Windflow Technology Limited, the New Zealand based manufacturer of mid-size wind turbines.
The North Harris Trust was established in 2003 to manage the 26,000 hectare North Harris Estate on behalf of the local community. It is run by a team of locally-elected volunteer directors and is involved in a variety of community development activities.