Renewable energy developer SSE Renewables is celebrating first power from one of its new onshore wind farms.
Situated about six miles north-west of Brora in the Highlands, the first four turbines for the Gordonbush Extension Wind Farm began turning this week.
When fully complete, the 38 megawatt (MW) development will generate enough green electricity to power 46,000 UK homes each year.
SSE Renewables was given the green light to begin constructing the onshore wind farm, its first to be built on a merchant basis, meaning its subsidy-free, in January last year.
Gordonbush Extension is due to become operational in mid-2021 and has an expected lifespan of 25-years – it will consist of 11 Siemens Gamesa turbines.
On top of Covid restrictions, SSE Renewables’ engineers at the site in Sutherland also had to contend with the “worst Scottish winter weather in years”, as heavy snow and freezing temperatures hit the region.
The extension builds on the existing 35-turbine Gordonbush onshore wind farm, which has been in operation since 2012.
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.”