Perth-based utility SSE has generated the first electricity from a major new windfarm development in the Highlands.
The £109 million Strathy North scheme which qualifies for the renewables obligation support which the Conservative Government has just controversially said it was to scrap from next year was conceived in 2007 and received planning approval four years later.
Main construction work on the site began in February 2014 and the first of the turbines to be commissioned are now exporting power to the grid.
SSE said the remainder of the turbines will come online in the weeks ahead and the site will be fully operational by the end of the year.
“It’s a fantastic achievement to have reached this important milestone and testament to the hard work of the site team that the turbines have gone up ahead of schedule to start generating,” project manager Rod Crawford said.
“Strathy North has a superb wind resource and promises to be an excellent site. ”
The main contractor for the site is RJ McLeod and SSE said more than £3m of work had been contracted to local firms, including a seven-figure order for the Kirkton quarry in Melvich to produce and supply concrete.
The turbine towers used for the array were produced by Wind Towers Ltd of Campbeltown, Scotland’s only tower manufacturer.
On a wider note, SSE said that community funding from its renewable energy developments had produced almost £3m over the past year and benefited 414 local groups.
The updates came as energy minister Fergus Ewing gave a determination on two new planning applications for windfarms in Scotland.
PNE Wind UK have been given approval for their 19-turbine Kennoxhead array in South Lanarkshire.
However, Infinis Energy was left disappointed after Mr Ewing knocked back its proposed Limekilns windfarm in Caithness, a decision that was in line with the Reporter’s recommendation.