The power of Griffin

Scotland will soon celebrate the completion of a new onshore wind farm that will bring renewable energy to Perthshire.

Griffin Wind Farm is a 68-turbine wind farm project that is located just south of Aberfeldy in Perthshire. Valued at £200 million, Griffin Wind Farm will become fully operational in spring 2012 and will provide a combined capacity of 156.4MW.

The project is a new venture that has been entirely self-funded by SSE and covers an area of 30 square kilometres across land that was previously used for commercial forestry. Lagan Construction is the main contractor on the project, whilst Enterprise Utilities is the groundwork subcontractor.

Construction began in July 2010 and the turbines have been supplied by Siemens. The first 61 turbines to be installed have a hub height of 77 metres and a blade tip height of 124 metres, whilst the remaining seven turbines have a hub height of 67 metres and a blade tip height of 110 metres.

The first turbine began generating in May 2011 and with the final turbine assembled in November 2011, all 68 turbines have now been installed on the site.

As part of the Griffin Wind Farm project, a number of off-site improvements were conducted on roads around the site in order to improve access for the installation of the turbine components. This work included temporarily closing a section of pathway that cut through the site.

The path connects Dunkeld to Aberfeldy and is a popular route for walkers and cyclists. However, in the interests of health and safety, public access to the route was temporarily suspended in 2010. The path was briefly reopened partway through the project, but was closed once again when it was determined that access could not be safely managed.

In order to facilitate the needs of the general public, a period of limited controlled access was introduced. This involved the use of a short vehicle transfer to transport members of the public across the closed part of the route. During the entire operation, the usage of the path was monitored so that members of the public were not endangering themselves by trying to gain entry.

Reinstatement work is currently taking place on the site. As the area previously comprised a mixture of grassland and heather moorland, reinstatement work will include the replanting of a variety of trees that are native to the surroundings.

Once Griffin Wind Farm is operational, the facility will add to the 2,000MW of renewable energy that SSE already operates. This increase in energy capacity will contribute to the company’s targets to own and operate 4,000MW of renewable energy in the UK and Ireland by 2013, whilst at the same helping SSE to halve its carbon impact levels over the next eight years.

SSE began generating electricity from wind farms in 2002 and by 2010 had over 900MW of onshore wind farms in the UK and Ireland. The company’s core purpose is to provide sustainable energy in a reliable way and it is the UK’s largest generator of renewable energy.

Northern Ecological Services

Northern Ecological Services (NES) provides specialist ecological consultancy advice to the construction industry, including ecological impact assessment and ecological clerk of works (ECoW) provision. The company provides advice and supervision throughout the construction phase which also includes advising on projects post development.

On the Griffin Wind Farm project as well as providing the ECoW service, NES compiled the ecological sections of the Land Management Plan, produced as part of mitigation requirements.

Northern Ecological Services Principal, Kathy Ader, said:

“We provide an expert and experienced ecological clerk of works service that ensures compliance with environmental planning conditions for the purpose of environmental and ecological protection.”

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