The first phase of Orkney’s new fully funded community wind turbine scheme will go live on the islands this month, with farmers and landowners at 20 properties set to benefit from deeply discounted electricity for at least 20 years.
Hamsin Wind – which aims to install over 60 single onshore wind turbines at residential and commercial sites across Orkney by the end of 2015 – is actively seeking applications from interested parties.
Hosts do not have to pay any money towards the turbine, its installation or future maintenance. Planning and capital costs are entirely covered by Hamsin.
Up to 95% of the energy generated by Hamsin turbines will be consumed on site, which means that not only will they deliver a reliable source of year-round electricity, the energy can also be used to heat the home or domestic water supply.
The turbines generate the majority of their income from the UK Government’s 20-year, RPI-linked feed-in-tariff. The balance of income from the turbines on Orkney will be derived from power sales to the grid under a long-term power purchase agreement.
Cameron Garson from West Stove, Sandwick, is one of the first hosts to be connected. He said that the installation of the wind turbine would make a considerable difference to his family’s living costs.
He explained: “The main farm, ‘Huan, Sandwick’, benefits from electricity produced by a C&F Green Energy 20kW turbine that was installed a few years ago, and we have seen the cost saving results that have been made on the farm because of this turbine.
“The Kingspan Wind 6kW turbine has now been installed on the second farm, ‘West Stove, Sandwick’, which is down the road from the main farm and will also supply us with free electricity. We hope that this will make us less dependent on the existing oil and central heating that we currently have in the house.”
Measuring no more than 20 metres high, the Kingspan Wind KW6 turbines are manufactured in Scotland and have been specially selected due to their ability to withstand high wind speeds.
In September, Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) announced that it would invest up to £9 million in Hamsin Wind to roll out approximately 200 small community based turbines at high wind speed locations in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.
Peter Bachmann, director at SEP, said: ““The Highlands and Islands have vast renewable energy potential and Hamsin will help remote communities benefit from their local wind resource to generate green, low cost power.
“With the installation of a 6kW turbine the host is able to save up to £3,000 per annum in electricity costs. Orkney is already one of the world’s greenest islands in terms of renewable energy generation so it was a natural starting point for Hamsin”
Other development partners on this project include Mistral Energy and Hadrian Electrical Engineering.