The first turbines at Strathy North wind farm are now up and turning, exporting power to the National Grid. The remainder will be gradually connected over the coming weeks then subjected to testing before the 33-turbine site becomes fully operational at the end of 2015.
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.
Strathy North has so far delivered in excess of £3million 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.
SSE’s Project Manager, Rod Crawford, said:
“It’s a fantastic achievement to have reached this important milestone and testament to the hard work of the site team that the turbines have gone up ahead of schedule to start generating. It has been a busy year so far with material deliveries, and then turbine erection, and we are very grateful to the local community for their patience during this busy phase of the project. Strathy North has a superb wind resource and promises to be an excellent site; I look forward to seeing it fully commissioned later this year.”
Janette MacKay, Strathy and Armadale Community Council Chairperson, said:
“It’s exciting to see SSE’s turbines now starting to turn and generate power. Everything has gone very smoothly so far and any impacts locally have been minimal. We have been very impressed with the way that SSE has delivered the project and conducted themselves - their engagement with us during construction has been first class and their liaison manager, Ruth Liddicoat, has been excellent in going the extra mile to resolve issues and keep us informed.
“In addition, 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.”