Possible solution to turbines problem

BY MURRAY MACLEOD
murray.macleod@whfp.co.uk

A publicly-funded not-for-profit organisation which offers engineering solutions to the low-carbon energy sector has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to prepare a detailed dossier on faulty wind turbines supplied to community groups.

Last month, the Free Press revealed that a large number of schemes throughout the Highlands and Islands had seen their plans for income generation scuppered due to a series of faults with turbines from a company called Westwind.

The problems ranged from the turbines catching fire through to the foundation bolts shearing as well as an assortment of mechanical faults. All the turbines affected are of the 20-kilowatt variety or smaller.

Last week, we reported that the Belfast-based Westwind had been taken over by Dorset firm Ampair.
Now it has emerged that the Scottish Government have com­missioned the Energy Technology Centre in East Kilbride to talk to the groups who have had problems with the turbines and identify possible solutions.

The ETC was established in 2008 with funding from the European Regional Development Fund and Scottish Enterprise to provide support to companies and groups engaged in low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency. No one from ETC wished to comment at this stage.

Meanwhile, Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has now written to Ampair urging them to do what they can to help the affected groups.
“A number of communities were left in the lurch by Westwind, with no way of repairing faults,” he said. “I hope that Ampair will now recognise this and accept they have an obligation to help.”