Small wind energy picks up in Scotland

September 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Scottish railway company ScotRail has completed a second small wind turbine installation, this time at its Bathgate depot in West Lothian.

Two Evance R9000 small wind turbines operating at the depot join another R9000 located at Montrose railway station and completed in 2012.

Generating an estimated 14,000 kWh annually, the Bathgate project is expected to enable a reduction in the need for purchasing electricity to the tune of $6,750 a year — reducing the overall cost of running the depot — as well as providing an annual reduction in carbon emissions of more than 17 feet.

Located on the south side of the depot, in the car park, the 5 kW Evance machines have a rotor diameter of more than 17 feet and stand to an overall height of 58 feet.

The West Lothian Council granted planning approval in June, just about a year after the first machine was installed at Montrose.

Montrose, a $112,000 project, was the first staffed rail station in Scotland to produce its own wind-generated electricity. An estimated 9000 kWh is expected annually from the machine, which is mounted on a 39-foot tower in the station car park.

The R9000 is Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified, and is therefore eligible for the UK’s feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme.

As of the April 1, 2013 the FiT rate for new installations of small wind turbines increased to 21.65 p/kWh ($0.33/kWh) generated and for all surplus energy sold back to the grid operator there is now an additional 4.64p/kWh ($0.7/kWh).

Funded by the rail operator under a franchise commitment, the small wind turbine projects were supported by Transport Scotland.

Any savings generated from the scheme will be used to fund further renewable energy projects, ScotRail said.

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “The wind turbines at Bathgate are part of our continual focus on providing a more environmentally-friendly and fuel efficient railway for Scotland. They will have a positive impact on the environment and help us save money for use in further eco-friendly projects.”

Meanwhile, Kevin Parslow, CEO of Evance Wind Turbines, remarked of ScotRail: “It’s very gratifying to work with a team that is so positive about harnessing renewable energy resources.”

Evance say they are already in discussions with ScotRail as they are reviewing other sites as to whether they have a wind resource suitable for the installation of a small wind turbine. Laura Cummings, communications officer for ScotRail, said. “We have plans to expand our renewable portfolio, although wind turbine opportunities are less in number than photovoltaic sites. We have to monitor changes in FITs, energy costs and technology prices while considering possible locations to install new wind turbines”.

Scottish transport minister Keith Brown previously said, “This builds upon previous work to install PV panels at four stations and I look forward to seeing a continuing roll out of this funding to reduce energy consumption and progress Scotland’s railways’ environmental performance.”

There is another wind turbine at a Scottish railway station — at the remote, unstaffed Corrour Station, on Rannoch Moor in the West Highlands.

In a related development, July saw a second major player in Scotland’s utilities infrastructure, Scottish Water, complete commissioning of three R9000 machines installed at a water treatment works on the island of Stronsay, one of the Orkneys.

Tim Sammon, Director of Evance Wind Turbines said: “The three turbines will be able to generate around 55 MWh of electricity a year, which will mean nearly an 80 percent reduction in the energy costs of running the works.”

This latest wind investment for the company followed the installation of 10 machines on the Outer Hebridean Isle of Lewis in May this year, at another water treatment works. Collectively, these turbines are expected to generate an estimated 180 MWh annually.

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