Element readies Scottish campaign
EXCLUSIVE: Route to market 'in works' for 70MW onshore wind duo
Element Power will identify a route to market early next year for its 41MW Windy Rig and 27MW Twentyshilling wind farms, both in Dumfries and Galloway in south-west Scotland.
Local authority councillors approved the larger project earlier this month on the back of a positive planning recommendation while the smaller scheme was permitted in 2014 and missed out on the Renewables Obligation regime.
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“We will not be relying on government supports,” said Element chief executive Mike O’Neill. “We are looking to reach financial close on the combined 70MW in the fourth quarter (of 2018).”
Windy Rig will feature 12 turbines of up to 125 metres with rotors expected to be at least 100 metres. The site near Carsphairn is described as having a great wind resource that will produce a “highquality, high-value project”.
Twentyshilling was also consented with 125-metre tips but Element said it is considering a return to planning to upgrade the potential turbine options for the site near Sanquhar.
“Scotland has had a glass ceiling as far as turbine heights are concerned but we do need to (see planners) going higher,” said O’Neill.
Going forward under its new business strategy the company will be “increasingly selective” about which projects it develops in Scotland while still “keeping its eyes open” for new projects.
Element will focus on those opportunities where the company can create value, said O’Neill. It recently kicked off scoping for the 37.4MW Slickly wind farm in Caithness.
In Ireland, Element is building a 120MW portfolio of projects that it will continue to operate once handed over to investors. It is also “looking at” a number of opportunities in the final years of the Refit 2 support regime.
The company will continue to pursue wind as Ireland moves into the government’s new Renewable Energy Support Scheme and is “optimistic about the market” under what is expected to be a technology-neutral auction mechanism.
A portfolio centred on the Irish midlands offers the right combination of planning, wind regime and grid, said O’Neill.
The company is also awaiting policy clarity on potential routes to market for a 200MW portfolio in Finland.
This second of two web exclusive articles first appeared in subscriber-only newsletter reNEWS on December 21; the first part, on Element Power's new business strategy, was published exclusively yesterday on www.reNEWS.biz
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Image: the Coollegrean Wind Farm in Ireland, built for NTR by Element Power in 2017 (Kevin Arkins)