Sorry it’s been a while since the last construction update, holidays and a relatively quiet period for the civil works has meant it’s a while since I’ve been to site.
The big change is that the electrical works are now fully underway, with our on-site cable network being installed between the turbines and the substation. The first section has been excavated to well below ploughing depth; lined with sand to protect the cable; cable laid and covered over with more sand and warning tape; then backfilled, and the disturbed area re-covered with topsoil.
The T3 foundation pour went well, and this has now been backfilled. The contractors are now working on the final turning head here, along with the last bit of crane pad that extends out over the foundation.
The final touches to all the foundations is the grouting, between the metal ring which the tower will be bolted onto, and the concrete turret which is left protruding from the ground. This grout is designed to be extremely strong as it will support the full weight of the turbine over a relatively small surface area.
Over the next few weeks, the cabling work will continue, along with the final civil works, including landscaping around T3.
The trial run planned for the 16th of August has now been rescheduled for the 30th, to allow Nordex to try an empty lorry on the T3 turning head once this has been completed. Turbine deliveries are now scheduled to commence on the 19th of September – we’ll provide more details nearer the time.
We have now finalised our grid connection route with the network operator, SP Energy Networks (who will build, own and operate the cable), after detailed consultation with Scottish Borders Council and East Lothian Council.
The turbines have to be connected into the nearest section of existing 33,000 volt network in the area with sufficient capacity; this point of connection is located in between Innerwick and the A1. The underground cable route is shown in green on the plan below. The cable will firstly run from our on-site substation at Hoprigshiels, through the farm steading and down the farm access road to the crossroads at Hoprig. From this point onwards it will follow the public road and verge. It will head down to Oldhamstocks firstly, then up the hill, over to Thornton Bridge, then around the minor road north of Innerwick before reaching the point of connection, where a new substation is being built.
There are a number of advantages to this route. In between Hoprig and Thornton Bridge, the cable route is the same as for the cable for the two Kinegar (Neuk) turbines also under construction at present. The two developments are connecting at different voltages so can’t share a cable, but by sharing a trench the civil works can be carried out at the same time, reducing disruption on the local road network. Most of the route was used for the cable laid to connect in the two Ferneylea turbines back in 2014, so SP Energy Networks are confident they can avoid any major problems. No overhead line will be used, so there will be no visual impact. We considered numerous routes over the past few years, some of which would have been cheaper and more direct, but which would have required overhead line and/or some tree felling. Ultimately we and SP Energy Networks felt, and the councils agreed, that this was the most optimal route to use.
Unfortunately there will be some temporary road closures in place whilst the work is carried out, so there may be some disruption for local residents. As was the case during the Ferneylea cable installation, the SP Energy Networks contractor (Excalon) will ensure that access is maintained for people who live in the area, and will be leafleting those who live along the route with further details. Excalon has obtained the required road closure licences from the two local authorities and will be attending the next East Lammermuir and Cockburnspath and Cove Community Council meetings to explain more about their work, and to answer any questions residents may have. The work is likely to start on the 5th of September; the duration is still to be confirmed, but it is likely the cabling will be completed by around the end of November this year. As well as the local leafleting, we will post further information here and via the local community councils once the dates and diversions for individual sections of road closure are known. We would like to apologise in advance for any disruption the work may cause, and thank you for your patience and understanding.