Work has started on a new Scottish wind farm after energy firm SmartestEnergy agreed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Whirlwind Renewables to buy the power from the project.
Under a 15-year deal announced yesterday, SmartestEnergy will buy electricity from the five-turbine, 10MW Achlachan project in Northern Scotland.
The deal allowed the site to reach financial close and start construction work, Whirlwind Renewables said, with commissioning scheduled for January 2019.
Achlachan was one of the only schemes to have been awarded a Contract for Difference (CfD) price support contract from the government before rule changes excluded onshore wind farms from participating in the auctions.
“We’re delighted that construction work has now started following financial close on the project,” Thomas Chappell, director at Whirlwind, said. “Achlachan is the biggest project we have taken forward entirely by ourselves and will make a valuable contribution towards Scotland and the UK’s renewable energy targets.”
Advocates of onshore wind maintain that it represents one of the lowest cost forms of power currently available. However, developers are struggling to bring new projects to market after the government controversially blocked onshore wind projects from competing with more expensive offshore wind projects for CfD contracts at auction.
Some industry insiders are hopeful that private sector PPAs with large power users could replicate CfDs in the future and allow “subsidy-free” onshore wind farms to come to market.