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First power at Gordonbush Extension wind farm is 'momentous occasion'


By Alan Hendry

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First power at Gordonbush Extension has been reached by the SSE Renewables project delivery team after overcoming severe weather at the Sutherland site. Picture: SSE Renewables
First power at Gordonbush Extension has been reached by the SSE Renewables project delivery team after overcoming severe weather at the Sutherland site. Picture: SSE Renewables

The generation of first power from SSE Renewables’ Gordonbush Extension wind farm in Sutherland has been hailed as "a momentous occasion".

It comes just a month after completion of the delivery of the 11 Siemens Gamesa turbines to the site, around 9.5 kilometres north-west of Brora.

The final component delivery arrived on March 9. The route saw turbine components travel under police escort from Nigg through Golspie and Brora to the wind farm site.

Deliveries had begun on November 24 and were scheduled to be finished by late January. However, severe weather at the wind farm site – including deep, drifting snow and temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees Celsius – caused disruption during the first two months of the year.

The first four turbines started turning this week.

Derek Hastings, head of onshore projects for SSE Renewables, said: “It is a momentous occasion for the Gordonbush Extension team and all of us at SSE Renewables to have reached first power.

“We should not underestimate the trying conditions under which this was achieved. Not only did the team have to deal with deep snow and storm conditions but, when the snow melted, mud and melted snow brought their own challenges.

“Everyone has been working safely and flexibly while remaining compliant with Covid regulations. The team have done a tremendous job in trying circumstances and colleagues across SSE Renewables can be immensely proud of their involvement and achievement.”

One of the turbine components being transported to the Gordonbush Extension wind farm site. Picture: SSE Renewables
One of the turbine components being transported to the Gordonbush Extension wind farm site. Picture: SSE Renewables

Gordonbush Extension is scheduled to be fully operational in mid-2021, generating 38MW of electricity – enough to power 46,000 homes each year. Over the expected 25-year lifetime of the wind farm, it will save more than 37,000 tonnes annually of carbon dioxide emissions, helping in the UK's transition towards a net-zero carbon future.

The development is the first to be built by SSE Renewables on a merchant basis, receiving no state subsidy or Contracts for Difference support.

The project is situated beside SSE Renewables’ 71.75MW operational Gordonbush Wind Farm, which was commissioned in 2012.


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