Aberdeenshire's first wind farm set for opening ceremony

Aberdeenshire’s first wind farm, which represents a £31 million investment to supply 13,000 homes across the region with renewable electricity, is holding a formal opening ceremony tomorrow (Friday 16 September) following completion of the project ahead of schedule in July.

Project owner Centrica, the parent company of Scottish Gas, will host a range of key stakeholders including Malcolm Bruce MP and Nora Radcliffe MSP at the twenty turbine Glens of Foudland wind farm near Huntly.

The project represents Centrica’s first operational wind farm and is part of a wider £750 million investment to supply Scottish Gas and British Gas customers with renewable electricity over the coming years. Centrica acquired the project in October 2004 from Renewable Energy Systems (RES), which remained on contract for the construction phase, before handing over the completed wind farm in mid July, more than a month ahead of schedule. RES will also operate and maintain the site for an initial five years and managed the initial planning process in 2001.

Scottish Gas was recently named as the greenest energy supplier by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and its planned renewable investment is one of the biggest in the industry as part of the requirement on all energy suppliers to provide 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010.

The day will also see the unveiling of a long term local community fund for the area, managed by local trustees, together with local schoolchildren from Largue School in Huntly cutting the ribbon to signal the formal opening.

Jake Ulrich, Managing Director of Centrica Energy, who will host the ceremony, said: “It gives us great pride to be formally opening Glens of Foudland which is a milestone for Centrica as our first operational wind farm, as well as being Aberdeenshire’s first wind farm.

“We are committing around £750 million to supply our Scottish Gas and British Gas customers with renewable electricity from our own assets over the coming years and this is the first stage in that process, alongside our contracts to buy renewable electricity from other generators. The project has run very smoothly, coming online ahead of schedule and that is down to the commitment and hard work of the teams from Centrica and RES.”

Ian Mays, Managing Director of Renewable Energy Systems Group, said: “The success of this project is testament to the excellent working relationship established with Centrica and everyone involved in its construction and development.

"We worked closely and constructively with local stakeholders to create a wind farm that would bring only positive benefits to the community and Aberdeenshire. We are delighted to now see the turbines generating clean, green electricity to help Scotland meet its climate change targets."

Glens of Foudland produced its first full month of electricity during August and is expected to be capable of generating 80 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of power every year. It could help to save nearly 60,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions on an annual basis.