New wind farm will power 37,000 homes

A 35 turbine wind farm is under construction at Gordonbush, in a project near Brora, in Sutherland.

The 87.5 megawatt wind farm will be capable of powering 37,000 homes.

The project is being carried out SSE for by Main Contractors RJ McLeod. The construction works include the building of roads, hardstandings and substation hardstandings, as well as a welfare building; the erection of three met masts and the upgrade of a single track ‘C’ class road.

Construction work over the last few months has included developing the access track, now completed, which leads from the site entrance at Ascoile up to the location of the on-site substation. The spur roads between the turbines and the turbine bases are also being constructed.

The substation is now being built, with SHETL (Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission Limited) the company which is delivering the grid connection, having transported their equipment to site in May 2011 in order to carry out the construction. The work will continue up until the grid connection date in October 2011.

Associated works on the project include the strengthening, reinforcement and widening of the Clynelish and Moss roads to facilitate delivery of the turbines in Autumn 2011.

Work began in the autumn last year and full commissioning is due around the end of the financial year.

SSE recognise that their investments in new electricity generation benefit from the co-operation of the local community in a variety of ways, particularly during the construction phase. In recognition of this, their policy is to establish long-term funds to support community projects in areas where they are developing generation projects.

The Gordonbush Community Fund will benefit Golspie, Brora, Rogart and Helmsdale Community Council areas and will deliver over £3.6m during the 25 year life of the wind farm.

In addition to the general fund, a £300,000 Sustainability Investment Fund has been established for the communities of Golspie and Brora.

The fund will focus on areas such as social enterprise and skills development and be managed by the charity Scottish Business in the Community (SBC) in partnership with SSE and the community.

SSE is involved in the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity, in the production, storage, distribution and supply of gas and in other energy services.

The company generates electricity in power stations, hydro electric schemes and wind farms; produce gas through their interests in North Sea production; deliver electricity to homes, offices and businesses via overhead lines and underground cables and deliver gas to homes, offices and businesses through their 50% share of Scotia Gas Networks. They also: retail (or supply) electricity, gas and related home services; own and operate gas storage capacity; provide mechanical and electrical contracting and engineering services and own and operate telecoms network capacity.

RJ McLeod (Contractors) Ltd operates over a broad spectrum of construction disciplines with resources spread across Scotland, including the Western and Northern Isles. The company’s sizeable in-house resources include plant and transport valued in excess of £8M, around 400 staff (including over 200 operatives) and their own Quality, Safety, Environmental and Training (QSET) Department.

 CS Drilling Services

CS Drilling Services undertook drilling & blasting to provide access to the turbine bases and the infrastructure for future maintenance of the turbines

The company operates state of the art Atlas Copco D9 and L6 drilling rigs each capable of drilling between 9000 and 13000 cu metres of rock per week, enabling R J McLeod to complete the road access to each turbine on time and within budget.

As well as the Gordonbush wind farm, CS Drilling Services have previously worked successfully with R J McLeod on the Kilbruar and Novar wind farms and currently with the Glenfinnan Hydro scheme.

The company is owned and managed by two directors who have over 30 years experience between then in rock drilling, water well drilling and the related use of explosives.

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