Archive for the ‘Trading Company’ Category

Scaladale Centre – Wind Turbines

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At the end of March, we received Planning Approval to erect 2 x Evance Iskra 5kW wind turbines on the hill to the north of the Scaladale Centre in North Harris. We have been working with Community Energy Scotland – Trading on this project. They will now take the project forward by securing grid connection and funding the turbine installations. We hope to have the turbines operational, and feeding electricity into the centre at the start of the summer.

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A second chance to generate an income from the Monan site.

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The Trust, through its wholly-owned subsidiary company North Harris Trading Company Ltd, worked for four years with the approval of the community to get all the required planning, grid and environmental permissions in place for a small windfarm on the Monan site near the Ceann an Ora Quarry in North Harris. You may remember that we were unable to procure a turbine for the site, which was considered suitable by the banks. The project was shelved in 2009.

We have since been approached by a New Zealand-based company who specialise in smaller turbines ( 500kW rather than the original 950kW). This company, Windflow Technology, believes that it has a turbine that will meet the demanding requirements of the site. Windflow is asking to partner with the North Harris Trust to develop the site once more.

If agreement is reached with Windflow, it will mean that the North Harris Trust can get back to the original concept of developing a major project that will generate a substantial return for the next twenty years  -which in turn can be invested in the local community.

The negotiation with Windflow is now commencing on the basis that:

  • North Harris Trust will not lay out any further funds to develop the project
  • The amount of money which the Trust has already invested in Monan will be converted into a shareholding in a joint company
  • The income that the Trust receives is related to this shareholding and rental for the site

The Directors of the Trading company believe that we should fully explore this opportunity to create a long term income stream from the Monan site –making the most of the investments made to date, whilst minimising any future risks. Work will continue on the Bunavoneader Hydro-electric scheme in parallel.

 A steady, long-term income stream is essential to continue the regeneration work that will make North Harris a better place to be.

A letter has been sent to all households in North Harris. If you wish any further details, please contact David Wake or David Cameron of the North Harris Trading Company on 01859 502222

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Wind Turbine proposal for West Tarbert

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Today we lodged a planning application with the council for upto three 5kW wind turbines on land behind Sir E Scott Primary School. North Harris Trading are working with Community Energy Scotland Trading on a project to install a number of domestic-scale turbines on community owned land throughout Scotland. The proposal in West Tarbert is to install either one or two Evance Iskra 5kW turbines to feed “green” energy into the Primary School. One final turbine will be installed to feed the Croileagan. Both organisations should benefit from cheaper energy bills and the knowledge that they’re reducing their Carbon Footprint.

The turbines in question are the same model as the one installed behind Tarbert Garage / Spectral Lines. It has a grey finish, so blends in well with the rocky backdrop. The site has been chosen as a compromise between wind resource, land ownership, proximity to the consumer and clearance from other obstacles. The site is already congested with the main power line to the island going north to Stornoway and the main supply to South Harris passing through. The site is upwind of the surrounding households. This should mean that for the majority of the time any turbine noise would be taken away up the hill.

The formal planning process is now underway. If anyone wishes to get more details of the proposals, or talk through their concerns, then visit us in the Old Hostel or call on 01859 502222.

Further details of the turbine are available on the manufacturers site at:

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Micro-hydro – what does it look like?

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the intake weir

In late January, I was lucky enough to attend a hydro briefing session at the Abernethy Trust’s centre at Ardgour, near Fort William. The Aberbethy Trust is a charitable organisation that runs a number of Outdoor Activity Centres. Last year they commissioned a 90kW hydro-electric scheme at their Ardgour site, so a number of community groups descended on the site to find out how they did it. Community Energy Scotland rounded up groups from Calendar, Applecross, Sleat-Skye, Mull, Creetown-Dumfries and Harris all of whom are in the process of developing schemes.

The Bunavoneader hydro-electric scheme will be of a similar size, so we were very interested in their designs and their choice of equipment.

a 90kW turbine and generator

The Ardgour scheme is on a very small river that drops 120m to the shore of Loch Linnie – Unlike the Bunavoneader scheme which has lots of water but only a 30m drop to the turbine house. The turbine is much the same size though, so it gives a good idea of what we will be siting below the bridge at Bunavoneader. The big advantage that the Ardgour site has is in the ground conditions.  They were able to build a track up to the intake with an excavator –no need to blast rock or ship in tons of infill. This goes some way to explain why the North Harris scheme will cost three times the Ardgour final bill.

Grid Connection


The scheme started generating in June. The ultimate aim is to build a private electricity grid around the site. This will feed their own electricity into the centre and all the surrounding staff houses. For now though, electricity is fed into the national grid and sold. Abernethy is one of the first schemes to find its way through the new  Feed-in-Tariff process. Six months on and they are hoping to get their first cheque .

The story to take away from the visit is that it is possible. Barry, like many of the community representatives is not an engineer or a hydro-developer, but by sheer persistence over a three year timeframe, has delivered a scheme that is now earning money for his charity. So successful has it been, he is now planning a second scheme in the next valley along.

Thanks to Community Energy Scotland for facilitating, Development Trust Association of Scotland for funding the trip, and Barry Edmundson from Abernethy, the brains behind the scheme.

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Community Carbon Challenge comes to an end

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We started out nearly two years ago to work with the residents of North Harris to achieve maximum energy efficiency in terms of heating, insulation and draught-proofing in their homes. The project sought to eradicate Fuel Poverty and encourage Energy Efficiency.

After securing £118,000 in funding from the Climate Challenge Fund, CnEs and Scottish & Southern the project team set about visiting every house in the area.

Now at the end of the project we have achieved:

  • 69 Loft Insulations
  • 32 Cavity Wall Installations
  • Delivered 350 Home Energy Packs
  • Installed 10 Radiator Panel kits
  • Run two Eco-gadget workshops and a show for school children

Customer feedback has been good. We received comments like:

“House is warmer”

”Rooms on first floor warmer”

”Excellent job”

 and the energy monitors that were delivered as part of the Home Energy Pack picked up on people leaving their immersion heaters on accidentally

In parallel with this project Taigh Blath, who carried out the surveys and loft installation also worked on a Hebridean Housing Partnership project. This has delivered insulation to a further 55 households in North Harris.

This project has delivered significant Carbon savings. It has improved the lives of a large percentage of the North Harris community. Thanks must go to TEAS – The Energy Advisory Centre for helping to deliver another successful project for North Harris.

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Grasping an opportunity for North Harris

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In the current economic climate, it’s getting more difficult to obtain funding for renewable energy schemes. However, late last year an opportunity arose when the North Harris Trust was contacted by Community Energy Scotland Trading (CES-T). They have funding for a small number of 5kW wind turbines, and were looking for good wind sites to locate them. CES-T has been speaking with both Lewis and Harris Youth Club (LHYCA) and Hebridean Housing Partnership (HHP) about feeding electricity into some of their premises. The Trust, who manages the community land that the turbines would sit on, is doing some of the preparatory work for CES-T. CES have helped us with a number of our own North Harris projects in the past.

You may have seen the Screening Requests that were included in the Planning Application lists in November and December. These are a precursor to a planning application, and are used to seek opinions from the statutory bodies and from the public. The applications show three sites above the Scaladale Centre, and three sites above the HHP development at Seileamol. The sites at Seileamol were chosen to take into account the views of a number of local residents. The Scaladale sites have been chosen to reduce visual impact.

Once the Screening Opinions have been received from CnES, it is hoped that a full planning application can be submitted. We have had discussions with a number of residents but would like to hear from anyone who has any concerns before we progress either scheme.  Plans are available for viewing at the Old Hostel or if there is enough interest, a community briefing could be organised in the two townships. Please contact David Wake 01859 502222 at North Harris Trust for further information.

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Urgha turbine is operational – in a Force 8 gale

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The first wind-turbine in North Harris

Last week, the new turbine for the Urgha Community Recycling site was commissioned. The tower was build in a howling gale as the rain lashed down. It was winched upright on Tuesday night, just as the weather cleared up! On Thursday, the invertors were all wired up and the contol panel made live. Today, after the gale-force winds subside again, we have generated 140kWh of electricity – in two days.

We await a formal handover from Shetland Windpower, but we’re operational! It’s great news, after months of waiting. From now on, the lights and the heating on site will be using our own “green” electricity. With the winter weather now here in force, it’s perfect timing.

The 10kW Westwind turbine sits on a galvanised 12.5 meter tower. The zinc hasn’t had a chance to oxidise yet – so it’s still rather shiny when the sun does show through. In time though it will weather and fit in perfectly with the grey mountainside behind. The picture shows the turbine “furled” out of the wind. This model has an automatic self-furling mechanism that take the blade out of the wind when there is a problem. Furling involves hingeing the tailplane by 90 degrees. This aligns the tail with the blades, so  taking the power out of the blades and the turbine.

The whole system is now connected to the elecricity grid. This allows us to export any excess electricity we generate. The sale of this excess will help the Urgha operation to stand on its own two feet.

As part of the package, we will shortly have a remote monitoring system fitted. This will allow us to see how the turbine is working and what it has generated – over the internet.

The clever bits inside the shed

Community Energy Scotland have secured funding to retrofit a number of monitoring packages to existing community turbines throughout the Western Isles. In partnership with CnES, UHIand Lews Castle College, data will be gathered from a number of sites to allow comparisons of different sites and different makes and models of turbine. We already know that Back Football Club are installing a similar machine to the Urgha turbine -so it’ll be interesting to compare the different outputs.

Thanks must go to Community Energy Scotland (CARES) and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CRSF) for helping to fund this project.

Upgrade work at Urgha

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Urgha "Contractor's Yard"

Now that the summer season is over, we are starting work on upgrading the Urgha site. Work is already underway to install new gates in the fence line. The new gates will be opposite the entrance to the gun club. We are installing wider gates to ease access to the site for the skip wagons. In doing so, we hope to move the skips around on site to allow easier access for our customers.

In addition to this, we have just applied for planning permission to site a portakabin next to the shed. Our Health and Safety assessment suggested that the existing touring caravan was not suitable as a long term mess facility. With the days getting colder and the wind getting up – we need to get something more robust on site. Once we have the appropriate permission, we will source a used cabin that includes proper mess facilities. For those of you that have installed new drainage systems recently, you’ll know that there’s no cheap way of connecting up toilets these days. We are asking for permission for a septic tank, as there is no mains sewerage. It’ll be a while before we commit the money for a septic tank and soak-away though.

The planning application also includes a change of use. When the yard was first established, it was designated a “Contractors Yard”. SEPA have questioned whether  this permission is  appropriate. This has prompted us to re-apply to formally register the use as a “Civic Amenity Site”. We don’t intend changing anything we do on the site – the change is just to make sure the correct permission is in place.

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Power to the People

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Historic Scotland's latest publication

Earlier in the year, a team from Historic Scotland came to Harris to talk to various people who are or have been involved in Hydro-power.  After extensive research, visiting sites throughout Scotland, a book was launched. This is now available to the public.

“The significant and early development of hydroelectric power in Scotland results not least from its combination of topography and weather. But this potential would not have been realised without the pioneering vision of a handful of architects, engineers and politicians whose personal energy and skills meant that Scotland has led the world in the development of this green energy source at various times in its history. The legacy of this pioneering development is a vibrant hydro sector which contributes to Scotland’s status as a net exporter of power to the rest of the UK. Scottish  Hydroelectric schemes are of national significance to the UK energy sector, generating around 12% of the gross power consumed in the UK in 2008. This is a spectacular Scottish success story. The hydroelectric power movement has led to the creation of many internationally important buildings and structures, demonstrating architectural as well as engineering achievement. This book traces the development of the industry through some of these key figures, from its roots in the aluminium industry through to hollow mountains with the capability to provide emergency power for whole of the UK. “ Malcolm Cooper Historic Scotland

The book is available FREE to download or can be ordered in hard copy at… or by contacting Historic Scotland on 0131 668 8701

 Check out page 24 to see if you recognise the two local characters!

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Home Energy Packs – energy conservation

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Helping conserve electricity in Harris

This week saw a concerted effort to deliver the last of the Home Energy Packs to households in North Harris. The main part of the Community Carbon Challenge project was to install insulation. As the project comes to a close, we have installed nearly 100 loft insulations and cavity wall insulations -all at no cost to the households. The good news is that people are starting to comment on the difference it has made. People are coming down in the morning to a warmer house – heat is being retained over night.

The Home Energy Packs have been delivered by a team of Directors of the Trust. We started off going from door-to-door in the more remote villages, and have slowly worked our way in towards Tarbert. Last week I took advantage of the sunshine and delivered 50 packs in Carragreich and East Tarbert myself. No easy task, when few of the houses are numbered or named. The next edition of DeThaDol?, the community news letter has an item on the packs. This will ask for anyone we’ve missed out to come forward. Hopefully then, we’ll have covered the majority of the estate.

 Arguably the most important item in the pack is the Energy Monitor. This, once set up, gives you an instantaneous read-out of the electricity being consumed and its cost. I installed one for someone who had had a few problems herself. Immediately it connected, it read over 3kW of electricity being used- the lady of the house had forgotten to turn off the immersion heater! This was a quick lesson on what to look out for.

Also in the pack is a Powerdowner – this neat device automatically turns off the monitor,modem,printer etc, when you close down your computer. There’s also another version that does the same thing on the TV for the DVD and Sky box. Some energy efficient bulbs are included in the pack, and some light reading on Energy Efficiency… all aiming to reduce North Harris’ carbon footprint, and to reduce Fuel Poverty.

Thanks must also go to the project sponsors: Climate Challenge Fund, CnES, Scottish Hydro and E-on and our partners TEAS:The Energy Advisory Service