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Pentland Road Wind Farm in Construction

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Pentland Road Wind Farm (Pentland) on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, has been in construction since early Spring 2012. Nsure Renewables, specialist insurance brokers for the renewable energy industry, arranged all insurances for the £27 million project in conjunction with financing from the Co-Operative Bank, and, as with every wind farm has proved to be demanding in more ways than one.


In August the German wind turbine manufacturing company Enercon started electrical works in preparation for the turbines which arrived on site in September. The six turbine site is due to complete in February 2013.


SSE Power Distribution will be installing the underground cable that will connect the new wind farm control building to the main Stornoway sub-station at Marybank. These connection works include a voltage control device known as a STATCOM. This device will help to stabilise the island electricity grid and will pave the way for further community scale wind projects, which, due to the relatively weak island electrical network, could not proceed without it.


Dave Cole, Account Manager at Nsure Renewables Insurance Brokers explains some of the unique requirements of arranging insurances for Pentland. "As part of the due diligence work in meeting the requirements of the financier, additional requirements meant drafting the insurance programme to specifically insure the STACOM device for Pentland. The project was further demanding as cover had to be specifically written to provide contingent business interruption insurance to protect against loss of revenue for Pentland following damage suffered by the Islands weak electricity infrastructure".


Pentland Road Windfarm Director Peter Crone said: "This wind farm is a landmark project not just for the Western Isles but for wind technology itself. It will be the first time a project as large as this has been installed in such a remote and weak electricity network."


Pentland and German manufacturer Enercon are both confident that the 18MW scheme, when completed, will not only operate successfully but will actually help to stabilise the island network as a whole, allowing other community owned wind turbines to follow.


The wind farm will be connected to the existing Lewis and Harris grid and will be completed in early 2013, more than two years ahead of the proposed subsea cable link with the Scottish mainland which is due to be installed in 2015. This is a further consideration for the project, with the high voltage undersea proposed connection costs having risen considerably from £460 million to £700 million, with contributions expected from wind farm developers which will have an impact on existing and future wind farm projects. One of the main reasons for the cost of the increase is due to the hugely increasing price of copper and the specific requirements of the HV cabling itself and the demanding difficulties in laying such a cable.

 

Work on the 50-mile link between Lewis and Ullapool was due to be ready in 2015. Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) which operates the national grid in Scotland warns of further delays to the new completion date of late 2016.

However, this should not delay the completion of the Pentland Road windfarm. Nsure Renewables wishes the project every success in reaching successful operational completion.

 

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