Bhlaraidh Wind Farm, Scotland, United Kingdom


Bhlaraidh farm

Bhlaraidh wind farm, located on the Glenmoriston Estate, 4km north-west of Invermoriston in the Great Glen, Scotland, UK, is being developed by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). With an installed capacity of up to 108MW, the wind farm is expected to power approximately 50,900 homes in Scotland.

The planning application for the £166.3m ($274.68m) wind farm was submitted by SSE in 2012 and approved by the Scottish Ministers in January 2014. Enabling works at the site commenced in August 2015, with the actual construction works expected to commence in spring 2016.

Completion of the wind farm is scheduled for the end of 2017. The project will generate indirect jobs during the construction phase, and approximately 60 operations and maintenance jobs upon commencing operations.

Location of SSE's new wind farm

The Glenmoriston Estate location was chosen for the wind farm by performing surveys using meteorological masts, which gathered wind data from the Bhlaraidh site since 2009.

The site area was re-designed and the number of turbines was reduced from 36 to 32 after the completion of the environmental studies and consultations with local community. The name of the wind farm was also changed from Balmacaan wind farm to Bhlaraidh wind farm.

Bhlaraidh wind farm make-up

The project site is spread over 3,254ha, whereas the actual area required for the turbines and associated infrastructure will be 26.1ha.

The wind farm will be equipped with 32 wind turbines with a maximum tip height of up to 135m and approximately 1,800m² of hardstanding area. Two permanent meteorological masts, underground cabling, site substation, and control buildings with parking and welfare facilities will also be part of the project.

The wind farm will be connected to the national grid through an on-site substation by means of underground cables.

Construction on the Scottish wind farm

"The wind farm will be equipped with 32 wind turbines with a maximum tip height of up to 135m."

The main construction onsite will begin with laying the tracks and the spur roads through the site to each of the turbine locations. Construction of turbine bases and the crane hardstanding areas will be completed prior to erecting turbines at the wind farm.

The onsite construction works will include a concrete batching plant, temporary construction compound and laydown area, two temporary satellite construction compounds, and temporary telecoms infrastructure.

It will also include construction of three temporary meteorological masts, 11 borrow pits for hardstanding foundations and onsite access tracks including 23.4km of new access tracks, and upgrades to 6.6km of existing tracks.

Contractors involved with the Bhlaraidh wind farm

Vestas Wind Systems was awarded the delivery and installation contract in December 2015 for 32 wind turbines including 30 V117-3.45MW turbines and two V112-3.45MW turbines. Vestas is also responsible for providing active output management service for the turbines for a period of 10 years.

Balfour Beatty was awarded a contract to provide electrical transmission network connections to Bhlaraidh wind farm in March 2016. The scope of work includes design and construction of underground cable system and a new substation, refurbishment of two existing substations, connecting to a fourth substation, and renovation of an overhead line.

RJ McLeod was awarded with a £22m ($32.15m) contract for carrying out civil engineering works at the wind farm in May 2016. The scope work under the contract will include construction of the on-site substation platform and the main access track.

Murform was contracted to construct 32 wind turbine bases at the wind farm in August 2016. The scope of the work will also include providing 62t of rebar and 580m³ of concrete in each base.