New Scottish wind farm will power leading UK retailer

06/03/2024

West Benhar wind farm, near Shotts in North Lanarkshire, has now been fully commissioned. The wind farm has a capacity of 30.1MW and consists of seven Vestas V117 4.3MW turbines, tip height 149.9m above ground level, with a 117m rotor diameter. Local children and community groups joined EDF Renewables UK to officially open the country’s newest operational wind farm.

EDF Renewables UK has worked with Scottish and UK businesses where possible to build the wind farm, including family-run I&H Brown which completed the civil engineering works throughout; Athena on the mechanical and electrical work, including high voltage and Vestas for the construction and installation of the wind turbines.

The opening was marked during an official ceremony at the site on 28 February. To commemorate the opening, Ms Martin Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Just Transition and Fair Work, unveiled a plaque to officially open the country’s newest operational wind farm. A number of local community groups and children from the nearby Scout unit, were welcomed along for the occasion. 

In addition to providing an investment boost to the local economy during development, over the project’s operational lifespan of 30 years, a dedicated Community Benefit Fund will see approximately £4.5million awarded to local projects and initiatives during this time. Work has been progressing with local community organisations to launch the fund which will come into effect in the coming months.

EDF Renewables UK has been working with the 3rd Shotts Scout Group on a competition to name a turbine on the site. The winning name was Big Betram – a legendary giant who roamed Shotts in 15th century – and was put forward by nine-year-old Jay Johnston. Runners-up for the competition were Noah Mould, aged 13, and Ethan Baillie, nine. The boys were presented with gift vouchers and certificates during the ceremony.

Jon O’Sullivan, Director Onshore Wind, Hydrogen and Commercial and Industrial Solar for EDF Renewables UK commented: “We are delighted to welcome people from across the local area and those who have been integral to building and bringing West Benhar wind farm online. This milestone is another positive step towards realising the country’s ambitions to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2045 and will see millions re-invested back into the local community over the life of the project.

“We take a long term approach to the wind farms we develop, recognising the importance of supporting those communities in which we operate. From using local suppliers where possible to working with communities throughout the lifespan of the project, we want to make sure that local people reap the benefits of having EDF Renewables UK and our wind farm nearby.”

Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Just Transition and Fair Work, Gillian Martin, said: “The commissioning of West Benhar wind farm will benefit the community through investment in local projects for the next 30 years and supports our drive to transition to a net zero economy.

A corporate Power Purchase Agreement is in place for Tesco to buy the wind farm’s electricity to help to decarbonise its retail portfolio, with power balancing and shaping services by EDF Business Solutions*.

Corporate Power Purchase Agreements allows electricity to be bought by a business directly from an energy developer and from a specific site, giving confidence of where its renewable energy has come from.

Matthew Nunn, Director of EDF Business Solutions commented: “This innovative Corporate PPA will be delivered by utilising EDF’s unrivalled energy market knowledge and expert trading capabilities to help maximise Tesco’s renewable power portfolio and provide access to clean and affordable energy. 

“This is another positive step forward on the journey to net zero and we are excited to continue working closely with Tesco, providing a route to market for renewable energy. It is great to see UK businesses making such big commitments and renewable electricity playing a major role in Tesco’s progress.”

Andy Henley, Group Treasury Director at Tesco said: “As we face into the impacts of climate change, there has never been a more important time for us to take action to meet our goal of becoming carbon neutral across our own operations by 2035. That’s why we’re delighted our latest windfarm, in partnership with EDF Renewables, has started generating renewable energy.

“These long-term renewable energy agreements are crucial to securing the future energy needs for Tesco and to help us meet our net zero commitments.”

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