After almost 30 years of service, Scotland’s first commercial windfarm has been powered down in preparation of the site being supercharged to help meet the UK’s Net Zero targets.
Operational since 1995, ScottishPower Renewables’ Hagshaw Hill windfarm in South Lanarkshire was at the forefront of wind energy production in Scotland, generating more than 895MWh over its 28-year lifespan.
Now the 16MW site is about to undergo a process of repowering, becoming home to 14 new wind turbines with a combined capacity of over 79MW. Once complete, the windfarm will be capable of producing around five times the amount of clean, green energy than before, from just over half the number of turbines.
The Hagshaw Hill repowering project is part of ScottishPower Renewables’ wider ambition to maximise the efficiency of its existing sites by replacing older turbines with new, more powerful and efficient models.
Barry Carruthers, Onshore Managing Director at ScottishPower Renewables, explained: “A number of our windfarms, like many across the UK, are starting to come to the end of their operational life. But repowering allows us to make these windfarms, sites we know can deliver the green, zero carbon electricity we need to reach Net Zero, more efficient and maximise the power we are getting from them.
“Hagshaw Hill is a great example of this. We’ve worked in this area for almost 30 years, we know how good this site is and now we’ll be able to produce enough electricity to power almost 61,000 homes each year – almost half the homes in South Lanarkshire.
“Repowering is critical to achieving Net Zero ambitions, but we need to be able to do it faster than current legislation allows. We know these sites, we know how to look after them and we know how much more they can deliver for the UK if we can repower them fast enough.”
The project is expected to maintain over 100 jobs at its peak, and even more indirect opportunities during decommissioning and construction for the supply chain. Work is currently under way to disassemble the turbines and prepare the land, with Scottish firm Forsyth of Denny winning the decommissioning contract.
ScottishPower Renewables is committed to being the best neighbour within our communities and has, to date, shared over £55m of community benefit across its windfarms. The repowered Hagshaw Hill site will provide an enhanced community benefit package, building on the success of the old site and ensuring Hagshaw Hill leaves a long-lasting legacy for its local community.
The decommissioning process will continue over the summer and into early autumn, and the delivery of the first new turbine components to site expected in May 2024. The new site should be fully operational by early 2025.