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Energy / Yell wind farm developer wants larger turbines

Peel Energy also hopes to extend the lifespan of its Beaw Field project to 50 years

An illustrative view of the planned Beaw Field wind farm from Burravoe, Yell. Image: Peel

THE DEVELOPER behind plans for a consented wind farm in Yell is proposing to increase the height of the turbines to boost the amount of electricity it could generate.

Peel Energy has begun the formal process of instigating the change for its 17-turbine Beaw Field wind farm in the south of Yell.

It is also proposing to increase the lifespan of the wind farm from 25 to 50 years – a timeframe which Peel says is “more appropriate and in line with contemporary practice”.

The developer is considering requesting to increase the maximum height to the tip of the blade of each turbine at Beaw Field from 145m to 149.9m.

Peel Energy believes this could potentially increase the electricity generation capacity by between two to five per cent.

“These amendments are being submitted following a review of the currently available turbine models and assessment of the associated energy yields,” the developer wrote in a submission to the Scottish Government’s energy consents unit.

“The above amendments offer the potential for an overall increase in energy generation without, it is our belief, any significant environmental effects beyond those already assessed as part of the original application.”

Peel Energy is seeking opinion from Scottish ministers as to whether the variations need an environmental impact assessment, although the developer does not feel they do.

The proposed Beaw Filed wind farm as seen from Burravoe. Image: Peel Energy
The proposed Beaw Field wind farm as seen from Burravoe. Image: Peel Energy

The developer said in its submission to the Scottish Government that the “increase in turbine height would be barely perceptible in views and when considered in the context of the scale and nature” of the wind farm.

In relation to the lifespan, Peel said the “practice of time limiting consents tends to be peculiar to wind farm developments and the industry has now moved towards longer lifetimes than the 25 years” already consented.

“Modern wind turbines and ancillary infrastructure can be expected to operate for longer periods and Scotland is now seeing applications to extend  the  life  of  consents  on  the  early  fleet  of  wind  farms,” the developer added.

Viking Energy successfully applied to the Scottish Energy Consents Unit to increase the size of its turbines from 145m to 155m for similar reasons prior to construction.

Peel Energy’s Beaw Field wind farm received consent from the Scottish Government in 2017, with ministers approving a development of 17 turbines with a generating capacity just shy of 60MW.

It is not the only wind farm planned for Yell, with the larger, 23-turbine Energy Isles development mooted for further north up the island.

Peel, meanwhile, also has consent for the 12-turbine Mossy Hill wind farm near Lerwick.

Both Peel Energy developments required Shetland connected to the national grid – something which is now set to happen after Viking Energy got the green light.

The Manchester-based company applied for UK Government subsidy in the last round of the Contracts for Difference auction in 2019 but, like Viking Energy, it failed to win support.