Exclusive by Calum Corral
The Hunterston test turbine site has ran into trouble just months after
receiving permission for a two year extension.
SSE have confirmed to the News that there has been an issue with one of the
blades belonging to the Siemens structure.
It is currently being investigated, while the other turbine, the Mitsubishi
Sea Angel, is set to be decommissioned and removed.
The two year turbine extension, which was opposed by North Ayrshire Council
and Fairlie Community Council was granted on appeal to Scottish ministers
at the turn of the year.
Repairs will now have to be carried out on the Siemens machine.
The structures are an imposing sight on the coastline – the Siemens 6MW
turbine has a tip height of 177m with a rotor diameter of 154m and the
Mitsubishi 7MW Sea Angel turbine has a tip height of 193.5m with a rotor
diameter of 167m.
An SSE spokesperson said: “The Mitsubishi turbine is aiming to have its
testing completed by the end of June, subject to weather conditions.
“Once testing is complete the intention is then for the decommissioning
process to commence in late summer with the expectation to have this work
completed by October 2018.
“SSE is currently considering the future of the Siemens machine.”
The SSE website says that the company was delighted with the decision of
the Scottish Government to grant consent for a two year time extension to
the Hunterston facility, and that a local community liaison group meeting
will be arranged.
During their consultations in the build-up to the two year extension, SSE
had been telling community councils that there were future plans of a 20
year extension for the test turbine facility at the Hunterston site.
The energy company state that the Hunterston facility has been instrumental
in securing Scotland’s place as an international leader in offshore wind
energy research and development, and has injected £32.4m into the Scottish
economy with £4.1m of this in North Ayrshire.
Since the project’s community fund began in 2013, £238,000 has been
invested in grant payments across 102 local projects.