Hoprigshiels turbines will start turning in early 2017

Lorries carrying the turbines make their way along the narrow roads to Hoprigshiel
Lorries carrying the turbines make their way along the narrow roads to Hoprigshiel

The turbines have arrived on site at Hoprigshiels wind farm and ScottishPower Energy Networks engineers are working on connecting it to the grid.

A joint enterprise by Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland, Hoprigshiels community wind farm is the first in the UK to be developed by a housing association and is due to be completed by early next year.

Lifting a turbine off the lorry and into place

Lifting a turbine off the lorry and into place

The SP Energy Networks (SPEN) arm of ScottishPower owns and operates the electricity transmission and distribution network in the area and to enable the power generated by the wind farm to be fed in to the grid, SPEN are laying around 18 kilometres of new cables over the next seven months.

Once connected, it is expected that the wind farm will generate around 24.5GWh of electricity a year, enough to power around 4,000 households.

Diversions are in place in the local area for domestic and agricultural traffic while underground cables are installed and SPEN representatives have been attending East Lammermuir and Cockburnspath and Cove Community Council meetings to explain more about their work and to answer any questions residents may have.

Johan Gillespie, customer engagement manager at SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re liaising closely with the local community as well as both Scottish Borders and East Lothian Councils around the work that we require to carry out and will look to minimise disruption wherever possible.

The scale of the operation is evident as the lorry driver negotiates a tricky bend with his extra long load.

The scale of the operation is evident as the lorry driver negotiates a tricky bend with his extra long load.

“There will be some temporary road closures in place whilst the work is carried out, which we expect to be completed by the end of January.

“While our engineers have connected many wind farms in the past, this is the first time we’ve connected one to the Grid that is wholly owned by two charities.

“The connection will be solely underground so there is no visual impact and it’s great to play a part in another exciting stage for this unique community driven project.”

The partnership created by Berwickshire Housing Association and Community Energy Scotland it called Berwickshire Community Renewables.

Helen Forsyth, chief executive of Berwickshire Housing Association said: “The revenue generated by the wind farm will enable the association to build around 20 homes a year for the next 25 years.

“Working with an experienced community wind farm developer like Community Energy Scotland has been a great experience for us and we couldn’t have done this without them.”

Nicholas Gubbins, chief executive of Community Energy Scotland is equally enthusiastic about the project.

“Having helped many community groups install their own renewable energy projects over the last eight years, it’s fantastic that we now have our own project underway – and it’s even better that we have done this in partnership with another like-minded charity,” he said.