A FIVE-turbine community windfarm in Yell was officially opened at the weekend as over a decade of planning came to fruition.
North Yell Development Council (NYDC) hosted a ceremonial launch event on Saturday afternoon on site before local band Rack ’n’ Ruin ramped up the celebrations with a gig at the nearby Cullivoe Hall in the evening.
It is hoped that the 4.5 megawatt project at Garth, which is located between Basta Voe and Gloup, could eventually bring in over £1 million to the community once bank loans have been repaid.
NYDC’s Andrew Nisbet hailed the launch as a “very big moment” in the development of the windfarm.
The project will sell electricity to the local grid as part of the NINES (Northern Isles New Energy Solutions) project.
The five turbines – Ann Jessie, Eel, Eliza, Excelsior and Undaunted – are named after boats which were lost in the Gloup storm disaster of 1881, which claimed the lives of 58 fishermen.
On Friday they were tested by SSE, although two of the five turbines had small faults and had to be switched off.
The windfarm enjoyed a swift construction phase after it received the green light following years of planning and red tape.
In September the project was given the go-ahead and by mid-December the fifth and final turbine had been erected on site.
Nisbet said the team behind the windfarm had been faced with a number of deadlines recently, meaning that Saturday came as a huge relief.
“There’s been a lot of critical targets recently and quite a bit of stress to meet the dates, so it’s a big relief to get to this stage,” he said.
“We still have a few things to do to finish off. Two of the turbines still have minor faults, so we need to get that sorted. There’s still a bit of work to do, but I’d say the pressure is mostly off now.”
Nisbet added that the idea of naming the turbines stemmed from a suggestion from a local school pupil as part of a competition in the community.