SEP to pump £9m into community wind scheme

Peter Bachmann welcomed the link with Hamsin. Picture: Contributed
Peter Bachmann welcomed the link with Hamsin. Picture: Contributed
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Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) is investing up to £9 million in Hamsin Wind, funding the roll-out of about 200 small onshore wind turbines at a “significant” number of rural sites in the Highlands and Islands.

The investment marks the completion of SEP’s first clean energy infrastructure investment from the Environmental Capital Fund (ECF), which launched last year, and Hamlin could save more than 5,000 tonnes a year of CO2 or some 100,000 tonnes over the life of the turbines.

The funding will enable farmers and landowners to install, with the help of local contractors, single-wind turbines no higher than 20 metres on their properties.

In return they will receive discounted power charges for at least 20 years, and in some areas the turbines will be key in helping address fuel poverty.

Many of the turbines, which generate green, low-cost power, are made in Scotland, and they have been designed to be “sympathetic” with rural landscapes.

Working with development partners Mistral Energy and ABG, Hamsin has engaged Ayshire-based Kingspan Wind as the turbine supply partner, with Hadrian Electrical Engineering the installation and long-term operations and maintenance partner.

Peter Bachmann, director at Glasgow-based SEP, said: “Hamsin marks an exciting initial investment for SEP’s infrastructure fund.”

He also said it is the first of several small-scale clean energy infrastructure investment opportunities that SEP is progressing.

Paul Gibbon, managing director of Mistral Energy Limited, added: “We have been working with Scottish Equity Partners for around 12 months in developing this novel renewable energy portfolio.

“We look forward to playing a leading role in the project as we identify landowners and communities with suitable sites for turbine installation – ideally where the host has a significant on-site power demand.

“We believe this will be particularly attractive since all the planning and capital costs will be met as part of the scheme.”

Kingspan Wind’s general manager Richard Caldow said: “Up to 95 per cent of the energy generated by Hamsin turbines will be consumed on site, which means that not only will they deliver a reliable source of year-round electricity, the energy can also be used to heat the home or domestic water supply.”

The first turbines will be operational in Orkney by the end of this month and further suitable locations are actively being sought as the scheme could be launched at other high wind speed areas across the country, both on residential and commercial sites.

When launching the ECF, SEP said it had raised £135m for the infrastructure fund to invest in UK-based clean energy projects. The fund also received backing from utility giant SSE.