The first turbines at SSE’s Strathy North wind factory in Sutherland are exporting power to the National Grid. The remainder will be gradually connected over the coming weeks then subjected to testing before the 35-turbine site becomes fully operational at the end of the year.
Main construction work on Strathy North was started by RJ McLeod in February 2014 with the access tracks and spur roads being built first, followed by the turbine bases.
Turbine tower deliveries began early this year from Wind Towers Ltd in Campbeltown – Scotland’s only tower manufacturer – and the first turbine was erected at the end of February, with the last being completed by mid June.
Rod Crawford, SSE Project Manager, said Strathy North has so far delivered more than £3 million worth of contracts across the North Sutherland and Caithness area, and seven-figure contract was placed with the local Kirkton quarry in Melvich for the production and supply of concrete for the site.
Furthermore, almost £150,000 of smaller contracts have been awarded in the immediate area to local businesses or tradespeople, and around £70,000 has been delivered so far in the form of local spend on accommodation, food and fuel.
Janette MacKay, Convenor of Strathy and Armadale Community Council, said: “Everything has gone very smoothly so far and any impacts locally have been minimal.
“The project has delivered some really positive benefits to this area so far in terms of local jobs and employment, as well as the goodwill gestures SSE has delivered which have included cattle grids and fencing, a delivery of firewood from the forestry coming off site, and wifi in our community hall.
“The project’s community funds are also making a real difference and over £240,000 has already been distributed locally helping our charities, groups, village halls and schools. I am glad that we decided to support this project through the planning process.”