Orkney wind turbine spins into record books

A WIND turbine in Orkney has spun its way into the record books – becoming the first in the UK to generate more than one hundred million kilowatt hours of electricity.

The Burgar Hill wind farm has been in operation for 13 years and faces the windiest conditions in the UK
The Burgar Hill wind farm has been in operation for 13 years and faces the windiest conditions in the UK

The device on the island’s exposed Burgar Hill, the windiest location for a wind farm in Europe, was constructed in 2002, initially as a prototype, and produces enough electricity to run 1,400 homes a day.

It is maintained by local engineers Bryan Rendall Electrical on behalf of energy firm Thorfinn, and marketing manager Tracy Jackson said: “The NM92 wind turbine on Burgar Hill turned 100,000,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) on the counter at 3:30am on Tuesday. This is the first single turbine in the UK to have reached that milestone and to have generated over 100,000,000kwh.”

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At 2.75 megawatts, the NEG Micon was one of the largest wind turbines in the world when erected 13 years ago. With a tip height of 70 metres and a blade diameter of 46m, the ­machine takes advantage of an average windspeed of 11.5m a second. (25mph). WWF Scotland director Lang Banks, welcoming the news, said: “Once again Orkney and Scotland are leading the way when it comes to UK renewables.

“Orkney can already proudly boast it produces more electricity from renewable sources than the islands consume and is a hotspot in the UK for electric vehicles.

“It’s fantastic news that Orkney can claim yet another renewables record by being home to the first wind turbine to generate over a hundred million kilowatt hours of electricity. In the decade that has passed since the Burgar Hill wind project was established, wind power output in Scotland has more than quadrupled, helping to cut carbon, create jobs and keep the lights on.”

Stephanie Clark, policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Orkney constantly manages to amaze with the sheer variety and inventive application of renewable energy technology deployed there – no wonder, when its very name means ‘energy islands’ in Icelandic.

“The cable which connects the islands to the GB electricity grid is too small, and until an upgrade is installed there are limits to the amount of power it can carry.

“Necessity has already produced world-first projects which have enabled more and more green energy generation to connect to the Orkney system, as well as a pilot scheme to convert wind electricity into hydrogen used to power a ferry, so it’s no surprise that this hugely-impressive milestone has been reached in Orkney.

“The team at Bryan Rendall Electrical are to be congratulated for a maintenance regime which has helped the turbine survive 14 Orkney winters – an application of technical know-how which proves Scotland’s renewable energy industry has much to teach the world.”