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.