Independent Scottish developer Muirhall Energy is working to deliver Scotland’s first subsidy-free onshore wind project. Alongside partners WWS Renewables, the company will start construction at its 46MW Crossdykes Wind Farm in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.
The project is expected to produce first power in September 2020.
Chris Walker, Managing Director of Muirhall Energy, said, “We are delighted to be starting construction on what will be one of the first subsidy-free developments to come online in the UK.
“That is testament to the work we have done as a company, but also the flexibility shown by all our partners as we finalised our plans for the project.
“We are now very much focused on working to our tight construction timeline and progressing a number of the other projects in our portfolio which we believe can be made to work on a similar model.
“With more than 300MW to begin construction over the next three years, this an exciting time for Muirhall Energy.
“However, access to the Contract for Difference or some other support mechanism would make a huge difference to the economics of the sector, encouraging the build-out of some of the more challenging consented sites, therefore ensuring onshore wind makes the biggest possible contribution to meeting our net zero climate change targets whilst keeping bills down for consumers.”
The company and its partners WWS Renewables, reached financial close in August. It is believed to be the first subsidy free development to be project-financed, with Close Brothers Leasing funding the scheme and turbines supplied by Nordex.
Muirhall has offered the local community the chance to buy up to 10% of the project via a community share offer, with local community groups currently assessing how best to invest in the wind farm.
“We have had tremendous support from the communities around the wind farm and I’m keen to continue to work closely with them to allow them to realise the opportunity offered by shared ownership,” concluded Mr Walker.
Commenting on the announcement, Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands said: “I am delighted that Muirhall Energy have reached financial close on their 46MW Crossdykes development, and are in the race to be the first subsidy-free onshore wind development in Scotland, with construction beginning today.
“This is a landmark moment for onshore wind in Scotland, in fulfilling a key policy objective we set within Scotland’s Energy Strategy, and I very much hope this will be followed by many more similar developments as we seek to address the climate emergency.
“The Scottish Government strongly supports onshore wind, and recognises the positive role it plays in our energy mix, net-zero ambitions and to our economy. A price-stabilisation mechanism would allow far more onshore wind projects like Crossdykes to be fully realised, and allow more consumers access to the cheapest form of electricity generation at scale. UK Government must re-consider the exclusion of ‘established technologies’ from the Contract for Difference auctions framework in order to deliver the significant benefits onshore wind can offer.”
Chris Rodgers, Head of Energy Finance, Close Brothers Leasing, commented, “Given our long-standing relationship with Muirhall and their partner WWS Renewables, they were the perfect partner to enter the subsidy-free wind sector alongside.
“They have considerable experience in energy yield optimisation along with ensuring a competitive cost for the project. This enabled us to provide a financial lending product that allows flexibility in contracting the sale of the electricity generated.
“Our teams work very well together and we look forward to supporting them on future projects.”
Patxi Landa, Chief Sales Officer and Board Member of Nordex, said, "Nordex are delighted to be working with Muirhall Energy on the Crossdykes project. The wind farm will be operated without financial support from the government. This shows that the production of electricity from wind power using the latest technology at very good sites can compete with conventional sources of energy," says Patxi Landa, CSO of the Nordex Group.
Read the article online at: https://www.energyglobal.com/wind/06092019/scottish-developer-announces-subsidy-free-onshore-wind-farm/