Posts Tagged ‘haris’

Bunavoneader Hydro Scheme update

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It’s getting on for 18 months since we last reported on this project. Things have been progressing slowly – but just not very visibly. We have had a number of set-backs with grid connections and finance deals, but now things are looking more hopeful.

Last year in May, we received a new grid connection offer. This is a very rare item in the Western Isles. All proposed large turbine schemes are on hold until the new undersea cable is installed to the mainland. You’ll have seen from the local press that this is still not confirmed. The latest estimate is 2019. Anyway, we received the offer for a 150kW turbine and immediately accepted it and paid the deposit. With planning already in the bag, all that was remaining was the finance.

In December 2013 we were introduced to Sustainable Technology Investors Limited by a community group on Mull. They are keen to help develop small scale hydro schemes. Since the start of the year, STIL has reviewed the design and have signed a Heads of Terms agreement with the Trust to start the wheels moving. Engineering Consultancy AECOM has been engaged. They have started the detailed design works and are liaising with Ross-shire Engineering and their civil engineering partner to firm up pricing for the turbine and the civil works. At the moment, the team is aiming to get all the in-river work complete before the wet season starts in 2014. The Turbine itself is on a 35 week lead time – so commissioning of the scheme will not be before summer 2015.

Now that the detailed design work is nearly complete, the critical thing is for SEPA to approve the designs. We await final approval from the crofters in the area, but once this has been done, we can get on and build something. We’re now in the sixth year of this project; let’s hope no more spanners get thrown in the works.

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Work starts on site

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Work got underway this week to prepare the site in East Tarbert for three new business units. Lewis Builders, who have been awarded the contract have moved their welfare facilities onto site. They are working with the North Harris Agricultural Show committee to ensure there will be no problems on the day of the show (July 17th).

The three business units are scheduled to be complete in January, but the first task is excavating three flat pads to build upon.

Iomairt an Obain is the name of the development, and signage will be erected shortly with this and the logos of the funders.

We are still collecting the names of people who have shown interest in renting one of the units. A formal application process will be announced in the Autumn.


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The first arrivals for Monan

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The first components are starting to arrive on-island for the Monan wind development. Blades for the first turbine are sitting in storage, awaiting the remainder of the turbine. The Windflow 500 machine has two 15m blades instead of the usual three. Other parts will be arriving from New Zealand as well as Germany over the next few months. The contract for the civil works will be awarded shortly with work starting on site in July. The first turbine is scheduled to be erected in October.

A new planning application has been lodged with CnES (ref 14/00226/PPD) to revise the route of the currently permitted access track. The Windflow machines are smaller than those originally proposed. All parts can be shipped on standard articulated lorries, so the route up the Monan hill doesn’t have to be so gradual and sweeping. The simpler track will leave the main road, just north of Ceann an Ora quarry and head up to the three original turbine sites. The application is in the name of  Monan Wind Company. This is the new company set up by North Harris Trust and Windflow Technologies to develop the site.


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Business Unit update

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This week saw the first Design Team meeting in Harris. The Business unit project is being managed by Nick Thomson of Rural Design Architects. We have a Structural Engineer, a Quantity Surveyor and a CDM Co-ordinator in the team that will take this project through to completion at the end of 2014.

We are currently waiting on the Building Warrant to be signed off, but hope to be opening the tendering process on the Public Contracts Scotland web portal at the start of March. The plan now shows a six month building program starting in May.

Towards the end of the year, we will start actively marketing this new business space. We have already had a number of enquiries, but many are from people who just want storage space. The project is being funded on the basis that they will create new jobs, so helping to retain the younger members of the community. Job creation is key to securing a tenancy of a unit.

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Joint announcement from Windflow Technology Ltd and The North Harris Trust

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 Windflow UK Limited and the North Harris Trust are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement to construct a wind project at Monan, on North Harris in the Outer Hebrides.  The project is located on an elevated ridge about 5 miles north of Tarbert and will use three 500 kW Windflow 500s manufactured by Windflow in New Zealand.  It will be constructed during 2014.

This project has been under development for several years, but stumbled because of the difficult wind conditions caused by the proximity of large mountains such as the Clisham, the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides at 799 metres (2,621 ft).  The Windflow 500 has been designed – and independently certified by Lloyds Register – to operate for 20 years in “class 1A” wind regime, which is the toughest classification defined by IEC 61400, the design standard for wind turbines.  With its 33 m rotor the Windflow 500 is large enough to generate useful amounts of electricity, but small enough to minimise visibility and get onto difficult sites using standard-sized lorries and roads.

A joint venture company called Monan Wind Company Limited has been set up to build and operate the project.  North Harris Trust owns 10% of this joint venture through its Trading Company and will receive a rent on behalf of the community for the life of the project.  In addition to Windflow’s turbines, the project will involve civil, electrical and turbine installation works, and operations and maintenance service. Windflow will shortly start to engage locally with contractors for procurement.

Andy Strowbridge, Windflow UK’s General Manager, said:

We are delighted to be partnering with The North Harris Trust to bring this iconic community project to fruition.  We realise that the spectacular location has a flip side, with difficult access and a truly challenging wind regime. Fortunately we have experience from other demanding sites where Windflow turbines operate.   We look forward to working with North Harris Trust and the local community to turn their wind into a long term legacy.”

Calum MacKay, Chair of The North Harris Trust said:

We set out in 2003 to develop the Monan site. Directors have worked doggedly to find a way through the many set-backs thrown their way. After over ten years, it looks as though this year we will see turbines on the site. This project will bring much-needed new income to the Trust and the local community.”

Windflow UK Limited sells, builds, owns and operates wind projects, and is wholly owned by Windflow Technology Limited, the New Zealand based manufacturer of mid-size wind turbines.

The North Harris Trust was established in 2003 to manage the 26,000 hectare North Harris Estate on behalf of the local community. It is run by a team of locally-elected volunteer directors and is involved in a variety of community development activities.

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Micro-hydro is feasible on the Maraig river

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Following a number of months work by Highland Eco Design, we finally have confirmation that a micro hydro-electric scheme on the river at Maraig is feasible. Since Maraig and Rhenigedale were connected to mains water, the local treatment works at Maraig has stopped extracting water from the river. This gives the Trust the opportunity to take water for hydro-electricity.

The Highland Eco team have come up with a scheme that fits a number of constraints – the biggest being the national grid. As most people will be aware, there is a freeze on all large-scale renewable energy projects in the Western Isles. All such projects hinge on the undersea cable being installed to Ullapool. Whilst there is no firm date for this, we have to limit ourselves to micro-generation schemes that are under the 50kW limit. Despite the Maraig river being capable of powering a much larger turbine, we now have details of a 50kW scheme that could be extended when the under-sea cable is commissioned. This comprises a small weir and intake next to the Rhenigedale turn below the old water treatment works and a turbine house down near the shore on the Eilean Anabaich side of the footbridge.

We submitted a screening request to the council (13/00615) in December. This will give us an idea of what environmental survey work we have to carry out before we can submit a full planning application. As at Bunavoneader, we think we will have to carry out a fish survey and an otter survey. These can’t be completed until early summer when the water levels drop.

In the mean time we have an application pending to help fund the remaining feasibility work required to confirm viability and allow us to submit applications for Planning, Grid Connection and SEPA Licence.

Details of the feasibility work to date is available HERE and artists’s impressions of the building and intake  HERE (1.4Mb)

The work to date has been funded by the Outer Hebrides Community Energy Fund and its managers:




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We’re 100% there!

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Last week we received the final piece of the funding jigsaw. An award in the first round of Community Capital Grants Fund from CnES makes up our shortfall. CnES will be contributing £35,000 to get us on our way again.

This week, the architect will submit our Building Warrant application after a period of detailed design work. Meanwhile our solicitor is working on the security agreements that Big Lottery needs in place. We’re still hoping to break ground in the spring.


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Roaring and Rutting at Cravadale Guided Walk

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Tues 29th October 10am-2.30pm

Roaring and Rutting at Cravadale

Meet: Start of track on right just to the east of Amhuinnsuidhe castle (NB 052 077), Distance: 6 miles

Level: Grade B

A chance to experience the incredible spectacle of the red deer rut, each stag fighting to defend its harem of hinds. The walk will take you into Glen Cravadale, a spectacular glen that has been shaped by the scouring action of glaciers.


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Roaring and Rutting at Langadale Guided Walk

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Sat 26th October 10am-2pm

Roaring and Rutting at Langadale

Meet: at Bogha Glas car park (NB 185 115), Distance:  6 miles

Level: Grade B

A walk to Glen Langadale to experience the roars of red deer echoing around the Glen. This is a chance to learn about the life of our largest land mammal and the management of the North Harris deer herd.

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Roaring and Rutting at Ulladale Guided Walk

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Thurs 17th October 10am-3pm

Roaring and Rutting at Ulladale

Meet: Start of track on right just to the east of Amhuinnsuidhe Castle (NB 052 077), Distance: 6 miles

Level: Grade B

A chance to experience the incredible spectacle of the red deer rut, each stag fighting to defend its harem of hinds. The walk will take you into Glen Ulladale where the silhouette of Sron Ulladale, Britain’s largest overhanging cliff, dominates the skyline

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