£14m wind project underway after power purchase deal signed

Construction has begun on one of only a handful of onshore wind energy projects to have been awarded a Contract for Difference.

Work on the Achlachan project in the far north of Scotland started after developer Whirlwind Renewables signed a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SmartestEnergy.

The 10MW, five turbine project - 17 miles from John O’Groats - is scheduled to be commissioned in early January 2019.

Once construction is completed at the site at Watten in Caithness, the Senvion MM92 turbines will provide enough power for more than 8,500 homes.

Achlachan was one of 15 onshore wind projects to secure a CfD in 2015 before changes to the rules meant they could no longer compete for subsidies through the scheme which guarantees developers a price for the electricity produced.

SmartestEnergy was awarded the contract for the FiT CfD PPA following a competitive tender.

Thomas Chappell, a Director at Whirlwind Renewables, said:

“We’re delighted that construction work has now started following financial close on the project. Achlachan is the biggest project we have taken forward entirely by ourselves and will make a valuable contribution towards Scotland and the UK’s renewable energy targets.

“SmartestEnergy offered us very competitive commercial terms but we were also impressed by the way the team helped smooth the way to help us achieve financial close.”

Chris Smith, Head of Renewable Sales for SmartestEnergy, said:

“SmartestEnergy were pleased to win the competitive tender for this project and demonstrate the continued commercial value we can offer for wind and renewable asset developers and owners.”

Achlachan will join a portfolio of more than 150 projects which SmartestEnergy buys energy from in Scotland, ranging from single wind turbines developed by communities on remote islands to industrial-scale biomass plants and major offshore and marine technology prototypes.

The company’s Scottish office is based in inovo, Scottish Enterprise’s £10m industry engagement building built to support Scotland’s renewable energy industry.

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