The UistWind project has passed two key milestones. The main news is the second turbine is now up after early problems with its concrete base meant the foundation had to be rebuilt.
Timelapse footage by UistFilm captured the moment the rotor and blades for turbine 1 – T1 – were installed (in the morning of August 20), amid great excitement after the previous difficulties.
In other news, the first turbine to go up – T2 – is now generating electricity. It was fully commissioned and exported power to the Grid for the first time on August 2.
UistWind is a community project to erect two 900kW turbines in North Uist, at Criongrabhal near Clachan-na-Luib. The wind farm is due to be operational by October this year.
A North Uist Development Company (Trading) project, the wind farm aims to generate more than £2 million over the project’s lifetime of 22 years – with the profits going straight back to the community via NUDC’s charitable activities.
Construction of the first turbine, T2, was completed in July and there were celebrations when its blades began to turn for the first time on July 31.
One of the UistWind directors captured a video of this welcome sight and it was posted on social media, along with the explanation it would continue to appear to spin on and off while the commissioning process took place.
There was further joy when the construction of T1 was completed and this final stage was nicely documented with the timelapse video shot by Andy MacKinnon and arranged with the help of project managers Locogen.
UistWind are delighted to have finally reached the stage of seeing both turbines installed.
They also paid tribute to the personnel at the MoD and QinetiQ for working with them to facilitate the creation of the community-owned wind farm, overcoming challenges posed by its proximity to the Hebrides Range.
Dr Ameena Camps, Project Delivery Manager with North Uist Development Company, said: “I cannot begin to explain how thrilled we are to see both turbines in place, and both will soon be generating electricity for the benefit of the community in the longer term.
“The operation of UistWind would not have been possible were it not for the willingness of the MoD and QinetiQ’s personnel to work with the community to identify and implement solutions that allow the wind farm to co-exist with their radar technology.”
Mustapha Hocine, Chair of North Uist Development Company (Trading) Limited, said: “We are very grateful for the strong working relationship that has been developed and look forward to working with the MoD and QinetiQ during the lifetime of UistWind.”
UistWind has launched an online Community Benefit Survey, to scope the community’s ideas on how to effectively distribute the community benefit funds generated from the UistWind turbines in the longer term.
Though the community benefit fund will not be generated immediately, it is considered important to have a plan ready for when funds become available in future years – so that investment can be targeted in line with the wishes of the community.
UistWind is a community project by North Uist Development Company (Trading), constructing two 900kW turbines in North Uist, at Criongrabhal near Clachan-na-Luib.
The project is due to be operational by October and currently has both turbines in place with one of them fully commissioned and generating power.
It aims to generate more than £2 million over the project’s lifetime of 22 years – with profits going back to the community via NUDC’s charitable activities.
The Community Benefit Survey can be accessed via SurveyMonkey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/WVJKMCP and closes on Tuesday, September 10. The responses will inform the Community Investment Plan and will include all the results of the survey.
Dr Ameena Camps, Project Delivery Manager with North Uist Development Company, urged people to take part in the survey.
She said: “So far we have gathered some of your valuable ideas at the North Uist Highland Games and Agricultural Show, as well as the children’s views during our fun filled day at Sgoil Uibhist a Tuath, but we need as much input as possible to create your Community Investment Plan.”
The survey is anonymous and asks for identification only by postcode and age group.
It asks how people would like NUDC to administer the funds, to rank what they most like about living in Uist and what they would most like to improve. Suggested areas for improvement include business support, career/job opportunities, care and support, entertainment/activities, housing, learning opportunities/education and transport. There is also an option to select ‘other’ and put forward a suggestion of their own.
The survey asks what people would like the Community Benefit Fund to be spent on and
respondents are also asked how funding should be prioritised – by location/distance from the turbines, by the biggest positive impact on the population/economy/wellbeing or by cost.
UistWind has stressed that, due to the financial structure of the project, returns will be minimal for the first few years but will accelerate further into the project. The Community Investment Plan will be updated in future years and will be made available on the UistWind website.