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Yell wind farm progresses

All five turbines of the community owned wind farm at Cullivoe have been erected - Photo: NYDC

A WIND farm on the island of Yell, which could eventually bring as much as £1 million a year into the local community, has moved one step closer to completion after its fifth and final turbine was erected at the weekend.

 After over a decade of planning, North Yell Development Council (NYDC) got the green light in September to start construction on the project near Cullivoe.

Work quickly began on the 4.5 megawatt development and on Sunday its final turbine was erected at the Garth site between Basta Voe and Gloup.

It took just over three weeks in total to construct the five turbines and work will now get underway on building a substation and sorting the electrical connections.

NYDC’s Andrew Nisbet said the wind farm should be operational by early March.

The project will sell electricity to the local grid as part of the NINES (Northern Isles New Energy Solutions) project.

“We’ve been very lucky with the weather when getting the turbines up,” Nisbet said.

“There’s been fewer delays than expected, so things are going well.”

Each turbine is over 40m in height, with the blades 22m long. Each base consists of 155 cubic metres of concrete, and construction workers decided to bury a £2 coin in one of the foundations for good luck.

The estimated cost of the development leapt from £6 million to £8 million following Britain’s decision to leave the EU in the summer because it meant the Enercon turbines, which were bought from Germany, did cost more than expected due to the weaker pound.

Income generated by the turbines will only go into the local community once loans have been paid off.

“Once the wind farm is commissioned and starts earning money, it will immediately start paying off the loans,” Nisbet said, “but that will be over a ten or 12 year period.”

All of the turbine parts came by road from Germany before travelling to Shetland on the NorthLink ferry.

They were stored in Lerwick before being taken to Yell on the inter-island ferry, with some parts travelling with a police escort due to its heavy load.