Welcome to our monthly project updates. On this blog, you’ll find all Kirk Hill Wind Farm news.
We are making strong progress onsite with T1, T2 and T7 complete, despite windy conditions. Enercon’s electrical team have started wiring up cables in the completed turbine towers. T1 now has all of the electrics installed, and the team is now doing the same for T2. Across the site, the electric cables are being pulled into the turbine bases.
We also have Power Systems onsite with the client substation and switch gear now delivered, which is now getting commissioned. Watch our wrap up video on the past month here.
This month, Kirk Hill has been shortlisted as a finalist for prestigious Judges Award and The Best Engagement Award in The Scottish Green Energy Awards 2023. We look forward to representing all of the fantastic Kirk Hill owners at the awards ceremony later this year.
September saw huge milestones for Kirk Hill. All of the turbine equipment was delivered safely on site and in their final locations. It’s now time for the big lifts to assemble the turbine parts.
Turbine 1 was fully constructed with Turbine 2 well underway! These impressive machines have a steel tower almost 70m tall, with a blade span reaching 92m from tip to tip! They also each weigh over 300 tonnes!
As you can see from our photos, Turbine 1 is setting a high standard for the rest to come. We can’t wait to see more of your turbines standing in their full glory.
We have updated the timeline for Kirk Hill’s progress. Check out our September update from Turbine 2 with Project Manager, Jamie, here.
If you follow us on our social channels or community, you’ll have seen plenty of action happening across Kirk Hill Wind Farm over the last few weeks. The process is to get all of the equipment for each turbine in the correct location before starting to construct them. So were entering a major period of deliveries and offloading!
A lot had happened over the past month, so for a quick breakdown of Kirk Hill’s progress, check out this video summarising the updates.
What had been delivered so far?
Full set for Turbine 1
Full set for Turbine 2
Full set for Turbine 7
Hubs, nacelles, generators for Turbine 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8
Hubs, nacelles and generators
A generator ring at Kirk Hill Wind Farm – where the electricity generation takes place
A nacelle and hub which sit at the top of the turbine tower
You can see the cranes offloading the hub, nacelle and generator for Turbine 5 here. And for a closer look at these parts, we managed to get up close to the generator ring, the hub and half the nacelle at Turbine 3, which you can see here.
There was a late night turbine tower part delivery of parts S1-3 to Turbine 2. For an understanding into how these parts will create the tower, we talk through it here.
The turbine blades started arriving from the Port of Ayr and offloading them was an epic job. Jamie talks us through the blades arriving at Turbine 2 here. You can also have a look at the cranes offloading the blades from the lorries for Turbine 1 here.
Turbine blades basking in the sun at Kirk Hill Wind Farm
Back to the turbine foundations, we talk through the backfilling progress at Turbine 8, the most challenging turbine of the wind farm. You’ll also be able to see the overall Kirk Hill layout to put everything into perspective – the eight turbines are much more spread out than you might think!
June and July
Kirk Hill Wind Farm had some time in the spotlight and was featured on Channel 4 News. The piece showed the Climate Change Committee’s urge to the government to support the country’s transition to net zero, with Kirk Hill featuring as a simple solution that enables people to power their homes using their own green electricity, whilst reducing their carbon footprint.
Project Manager Jamie took advantage of the beautiful weather at the Port of Ayr and showed us around the turbine blades before they got transported to site. He also gave us a quick run through the different blades for each turbine which you can catch up on here.
Meanwhile, on site the turbine foundations were well underway, with the last bit of grouting over the final part of the foundation that connects the tower to the S5s coming to an end. You can see a full update of the T8 foundation work here. So all the foundations were complete, ready for turbine deliveries.
The team working on the T8 foundation pour.
We also capped layers of stone on the surrounding roads to ensure that they are strong enough to hold heavy loads as we start transporting the equipment onsite.
In anticipation of the first parts of the turbines arriving at the end of the month, Enercon, the turbine manufacturer, started getting their teams on site to test some of their lifting equipment. We are still looking at an early 2024 switch on date – with the first turbine commissioned in January. Due to uncertainty around energisation timings, we were unable to fix a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) price with suppliers at this point.
The Kirk Hill co-operative board has therefore agreed the PPA price should be fixed from 1st April. This will be when Kirk Hill members’ savings rate for the first year will apply. At this point, we will set the wind farm’s operating costs for the year, taking into account all revenues received for generation before that date. We would therefore expect members’ monthly savings in the first year from April to be slightly higher, resulting from any early revenue received. We will set out more details when we have more clarity over the numbers in the spring.
As a Ripple member, you’ll be able to see all of the project updates on your Community Dashboard. If you don’t already follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok, our socials are another fast and easy way to see the action onsite over the next few months.
May was a busy month for Kirk Hill with plenty going on onsite, as well as the arrival of all turbine parts.
Sarah visited the site and walked us through the different stages of the foundation prep. As you’ll see in the video, the foundations are in the final prepping stages and are in the process of being backfilled.
With support from Steven Parker, the ecological clerk of works for the project, you’ll also see how we are planting some compensatory broadleaf, slow growing trees around T1 where we had to remove some pine trees to make way for the turbine. These new trees will offer more biodiversity than the previous forest land.
To prepare for the arrival and construction of the turbines, we made space across the site to accommodate for the cranes and loading lorries. As we’ll connect the blades onto the hub on the ground before lifting it up onto the turbine, we need a lot of room. After construction is complete, we’ll remove some of the hard standing to make it less impactful.
The final bit of the foundation, the S5 transition pieces, were also installed. Now, we’re ready to start building the rest of the turbine.
Tracking the ships on vesselfinder
Meanwhile, we were able to watch in real time as ships containing the nacelles and hubs docked in at Port of Ayr on the 15th and 16th May. The blades then arrived slightly later on the 18th. You can see the different parts being unloaded here, with Will talking you through the different bits of equipment.
If you need a reminder of what the various components are, check out our blog.
Unloading the ships at Port or Ayr
At last, when all the turbine parts were offloaded, the weather was in our favour and we had to take this stunning photo:
Blades sunbathing after some long days travelling
As if the offloading of the turbine parts wasn’t tricky enough, we needed to then transport the 45m long blades to site. We carried out a ‘long load test drive’ from Port of Ayr to Kirk Hill. As you’ll have seen from previous videos, we have had to make extra turning space for these long loads to fit. The test drive went well so the turbine parts will be able to get to Kirk Hill safely and securely over the summer!