We have three very different wind projects in development, in south Wales and in opposite corners of Scotland.
Two are brand new turbines while the third is bringing into commission two turbines that were erected in 2016 but never connected to the grid by the original developer. In total, they will add 8 MW of renewable generation to the UK power supply – saving over 4,000 tonnnes of CO2 emissions every year.
Behind-the-meter generation in south Wales
The turbine we’re building near Newport will supply one of the nearby industrial sites with electricity through a power purchase agreement (PPA).
This is the second private wire project for CleanEarth in this area, following last year’s completion of a turbine in Avonmouth for Accolade Wines – ten miles away as the crow flies, on the English side of the Severn Estuary.
Originally planned with a 130 m tip height and an output of 2.5 MW, the Newport turbine would have been one of our largest yet. But things never stand still and we realised there was an opportunity to increase the size to 150 m and the output to a full 3.5 MW.
Finishing what others started in Scotland
The two turbines we’re commissioning near Strathaven in South Lanarkshire have been standing since 2016 but will generate power for the first time in the coming weeks.
CleanEarth acquired them from a developer who had managed to erect the turbines and qualify for the FIT, but hadn’t been able to complete the grid infrastructure needed to keep them operating.
Recognising the unfulfilled potential, our team conducted a technical survey with specialist service engineers, Rengineers (previously Bettink), and saw no reason why they shouldn’t be spun up and energised.
Our project at Greenhill in Aberdeenshire is another that was abandoned by a previous developer, but this time at an earlier stage.
Permission was granted for two turbines back in 2011 but only one was built. We stepped in before the existing permission lapsed and will be breaking ground in the next few weeks with a view to going live in the late spring.
The bigger picture
While it’s good for us at CleanEarth to have plenty of wind projects in the offing, the picture for the country as a whole is a lot less rosy.
Renewable UK recently reported that, when it comes to onshore wind, the amount of newly added capacity has actually declined for two years running.
As Dean Robson, CleanEarth’s MD says, “Onshore wind continues to provide the lowest cost electricity in the UK, so it makes environmental and commercial sense to invest in it. But it’s only happening in Scotland and Wales. Opportunities in England are constantly missed because of the government’s antipathy to onshore turbines.”
This policy is totally at odds with public opinion, with 78% of people in support of onshore wind and only 6% opposing (BEIS September 2019).
“At some point the government will have to take notice,” says Robson. “With the Committee on Climate Change and the public calling for more wind power – and the consequences of climate change getting starker every day – something has to change.”