Galson Energy Ltd – the renewable energy vehicle for Galson Estate – has secured loan finance of £3.6 million from Triodos Bank to fund two more wind turbines installed at Ballantrushal in North Lewis.
The new turbines are both 900kW capacity with a 55m height to the hub at the top of the tower. This is the same model of turbine installed previously which has been generating electricity for over a year.
Formal commissioning was completed last week and the turbines are now undergoing the standard 150 hours of operating time before they are formally handed over to Galson Energy on behalf of the community.
Construction began in February and the turbines were installed in early July. A community share fund, initiated in October 2014, was successfully concluded at the end of February and negotiations with Triodos Bank ran from January to August, resulting in key loan finance being made available in early September.
The construction contracts for Balance of Plant works at the Ballantrushal site – access roads, hardstanding and laydown areas and electrical/telecoms cabling – have been carried out by Galson Estate-based North West Aggregates and Prelec. The North West Aggregates team includes Total Design from Back in Lewis carrying out engineering design tasks.
Campbell Construction Services in Stornoway acted as the health and safety co-ordinators and Rennell Heritage in South Uist provided archaeology monitoring. Due diligence tasks have been supported by Anderson MacArthur and CIB Services, both based in Stornoway, with Co-operative and Mutual Solutions of Cumbria providing guidance for the share offer.
Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn and Galson Energy have been assisted by Community Energy Scotland throughout the project lifespan.
Carola Bell, Chairman, Galson Energy, commented: “It has been exciting to see various elements of the project delivered over recent months and hugely rewarding to see the concept we developed in 2005 come to fruition at last.
“We are greatly encouraged by the support we have received from many individuals and organisations along the way and now look forward to seeing the wind energy funds making an impact across Galson Estate in the years ahead.”
Norrie Cruishank, Triodos’ Relationship Manager in Scotland, said: “This is an exciting project, and will help make the estate energy sustainable, and the chance for the local community to be a part of it.
“This project included the support of many organisations and our loan was coupled with a mix of community shares and other debt finance.”