At long last, the site is operational and generating electricity. We were connected to the National Grid on the 17th of March and Nordex wasted no time in starting to commission the turbines. In just over a week of operation, still undergoing tests and gradually ramping up to full power, they have managed to generate over 101,000kWh of electricity.
On Tuesday we held an opening ceremony to celebrate this major milestone for the two project partners, Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland. We were lucky enough to have the site officially opened by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy in the Scottish Government, who is also the local constituency MSP.
Around 70 guests joined us for the event, including representatives from our funders, contractors, partner boards and from the local communities.
CES and BHA staff had submitted names for the windfarm in a competition ultimately won by Marion O’Hara, who suggested they should be called ‘The Fishermen Three’. This name is taken from the poem Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field. The poem is a Dutch lullaby about three magical fisherman casting out their “nets of silver and gold”, which is a fitting metaphor for the ‘silver and gold’ that the sails of the turbines will catch and generate for the charities that own them and for the local community. The full poem is available to read here.
We’re delighted that Wynken, Blynken and Nod are now generating power for thousands of local homes, reducing harmful carbon emissions, and delivering benefits to communities at a local, regional and national level. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the local residents for their understanding and patience during the build, and we look forward to the years ahead.
The Hoprigshiels project has been supported by two main funders, Triodos Bank and the Renewable Energy Investment Fund (REIF). We are immensely grateful to them for their backing.
Norrie Cruickshank, Relationship Manager at Triodos Bank said: “We are delighted to have provided loan finance to this exciting project developed by BHA and CES. It allows for the progress of much needed affordable housing within the area and giving local communities the opportunity to develop various renewable energy schemes. Triodos Bank is always looking to assist with social housing and community renewable energy projects.”
Triodos Bank only finances loan customers creating social, environmental or cultural added value – ranging from large ethical loan customers to smaller, innovative organisations meeting local needs. Key sectors include organic food and farming, renewable energy, social housing and fair trade. Transparency is a core value: customers are informed about the bank’s lending and can target their savings to particular areas of investment. A range of personal savings accounts is offered and full banking services are available for businesses and charities. For further information contact Chris Yong (Christopher.firstname.lastname@example.org) or 0117 9809 721
The Renewable Energy Investment Fund was launched in October 2012. It aim is to promote the use of energy from specific renewable sources and drive further investment into key areas of Scotland’s renewables industry. REIF considers projects that support the delivery of energy from a renewable source or represent an innovative renewable energy technology. REIF is delivered by the Scottish Investment Bank – the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise – on behalf of the Scottish Government and its Enterprise Agencies.
The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is the investment arm of Scotland’s main economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, operating Scotland-wide in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise. It manages a suite of co- investment funds including the Scottish Co-investment Fund and the Scottish Venture Fund, which are partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). SIB also manages the Scottish Recycling Fund. SIB is the cornerstone investor in the privately-managed Scottish Loan Fund, managed by Maven Capital Partners and an investor in Epidarex Capital’s life sciences fund. These investment funds support Scotland’s SME funding market to ensure businesses with growth and export potential have adequate access to growth capital. SIB also provides a team of financial readiness specialists to help companies prepare for new investment and access appropriate finance. www.scottish-enterprise.com
Best wishes for 2017 to all our readers and neighbours!
It’s been a very quiet few weeks as you would expect. Some of the SP Energy Networks contractors have been hard at work fitting-out the substations at Hoprigshiels and Innerwick, and this is nearing completion.
Excalon have completed the bulk of their other work except for some minor adjustments at our on-site substation, and the installation of a fibre communication cable along the connection route; this is unlikely to take long or cause much disruption as it will be pulled through existing buried ducts from some of the manhole covers already in place. There is some final landscaping to happen at the Innerwick site which Green Cat will be completing in the next few weeks.
One task undertaken just before Christmas was to clear some trees which blew down several years ago in a section of the shelter-belt on site, as part of our habitat management works agreed with the council. This area has always been very wet which is why the Sitka spruce here blew over.
Local contractors carefully dismantled and cut up the jumble of fallen trees, and fed it into a mobile chipper operated by Pentland Biomass, which blew the woodchip back onto the area the trees came from.
Over time this woodchip will mulch down and soak up some of the water – new drainage ditches will help this too. We’ll soon be replanting this area with native species of tree better suited to the wet conditions here. Nearby in Hoprigshiels Wood, Borders Forest Trust are also coppicing some existing trees to create better habitat for some of the wildlife in the area.
Our electrical contractor Prelec is finishing the cable jointing in the turbines and their final fit-out of the electrical equipment in the substation, which will also be completed this month. The grid works are somewhat behind schedule overall, so it looks likely that it will be into February before we’re connected and the turbines are running. Nordex are bringing their commissioning teams next week to start preparing the turbines.Green Cat will be doing the final drainage and fencing works over the next month which will complete their role on site.
A long-standing commitment made by Berwickshire Community Renewables has been to make an annual Community Benefit payment from the windfarm, and we’re delighted to announce that we’ve now signed a formal agreement with two local community groups to put this fund in place. In line with Scottish Government Good Practice, we’ve agreed to make an annual payment of £5000 per megawatt of installed capacity – £37,500 per year for our 7.5MW development. This will be index-linked, so it will rise with inflation each year.
These funds will be split equally between the Oldhamstocks Community Association, and Cockburnspath and Cove Community Council, in order to directly benefit those living in close proximity to the development. We’ve placed no restrictions on how the funds can be spent as we believe the communities themselves are best placed to decide how to invest in their local area. Ensuring the local benefits from our turbines is a key principle for us; we want to see renewable energy help build thriving communities in East Lothian and the Borders, and beyond. In a future article we’ll be exploring how Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland will be investing the rest of the profits at a regional and national level, to help spread the benefits further.
Although there has been a lot of progress over the past month and a half, there isn’t a huge amount to show for it as most has been internal work on the turbines, getting all the mechanical and electrical components connected. They should be ready to start commissioning works early in January.
Work has also been ongoing at the site substation, with the backup power supply due to be fitted tomorrow. The area around the substation has been landscaped and paths laid to the doors, now that all the cables are in.
Off-site, Excalon should have all their cabling completed before Christmas, except possibly some of the optical fibres being laid for communication between the turbines and the network operator. The substation at Innerwick is now also completed apart from the interior electrical works, and some landscaping around the building.
The three turbines are finally all up, and the site is much quieter with the two cranes away to their next project. Here are a few photos showing the works from the past few weeks.
Good progress is being made by Scottish Power and Excalon off-site as well; all the 33kV ducts for our connection are in except for a few very short sections, so the roads are all open again (there are still some closures between Thornton Bridge and the A1 for the 11kV cabling works for the Kinegar turbines). Thank you again for your patience during these works. There will still be some cable jointing to finish over the next month or so but this shouldn’t require any closures.
Last Thursday the wind eventually dropped enough to allow more progress at T2. The top tower section was the next in line to be lifted.
Both cranes are required for the first stage; the main 500-tonne capacity crane lifts the top end and the 200-tonne auxiliary crane lifts the bottom end off the ground with a special clamp attached to the lifting strop. This allows the main crane to gradually raise the top end until it is taking the full weight and the tower is vertical.
Once the auxiliary crane is disconnected the tower is lowered temporarily onto supports on the ground so the installation technicians can perform final checks and cleaning. They also attach a bag of the huge nuts and bolts that will be used to connect the tower sections so they don’t have to carry these up the ladder to the top of the section already built – you can see this in the picture above along with a generator to power some of their tools. Around lunchtime you can often see bags of sandwiches being clipped on and lifted so the engineers don’t have to climb back down to get them!
The tower is then hoisted up and carefully maneuvered into position to be bolted down.
Next comes the nacelle; in the photo above you can just make out the taglines used by the technicians on the ground to control the angle it is lifted at. With such large components it’s easy to see why low wind conditions are needed at this stage.
The drivetrain may look like a small component, but it weighs 46 tonnes, nearly as much as the nacelle itself (50 tonnes), and more than the top tower section, which is only 30 tonnes.
The drive-train is comprised of the main shaft which supports the rotor blades and hub, and the gearbox, which converts the low-speed rotation of the blades into the high-speed rotation required to generate power.
You can just see one of the technicians in the nacelle waiting to pull the unit into place.
Progress has remained fairly slow over the past 10 days with high winds preventing much installation work, but there was at last a break to get T1 installed.
The first two tower sections of T2 also went up last week and they hope to complete the rest of the turbine in the next few days if the forecast holds.
All the components have now been delivered to site; the base tower section for T3 is ready to be lifted at the crane pad there, but there isn’t enough room to store the other two sections there as well, so they are on the T1 hardstanding for now and will be moved down to T3 next week once the base section has been erected.