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Problems with South Uist windfarm

A “few teething problems” are hampering the operation of Stòras Uibhist’s windfarm at Loch Carnan.

Thought the machines started to operate at the end of March the windfarm was not handed over to Stòras Uibhist until now.

Faults included grid trips, reset failures and most notably a yaw motor fault on turbine three, which resulted in that machine being out of operation for one week.

However, Stòras says that manufacturer Enercon is confident the 97% guaranteed availability should be easily reached now that all turbines are fully operational.

The turbines have undergone “300 hour maintenance” which is the annual maintenance work undertaken as part of contract with the new machines thoroughly check and serviced.

The statcom equipment which regulates the windfarm output on the local grid was delaye din coming from its manufacturer in America but has now been installed at Loch Carnan Power station by grid operator, SSE

However, there are still outstanding problems with the communication links from the statcom to SSE’s control room in Perth.

Stòras said that “issues identified with the Statcom in Stornoway have resulted in Stornoway windfarms not being able to connect to the grid and SHEPD (SSE) are working to ensure that similar faults do not occur when the Lochcarnan Statcom goes live. “The delay in the SSE installation means the turbines are switched off after generating a maximum of 3MW. Stòras Uibhist is pursuing SSE during weekly teleconferences with SSE and Enercon to complete the installation works that will allow the turbines to generate their full output.

None of the turbines will operate at all this week due to scheduled SSE maintenance work being carried out in Skye.

Stòras Uibhist said the loan from the Co-op Bank requires initial repayments to be made before funds can be released to the community for investment in development projects. This initial release of funds is expected in November of this year. The power generated by the turbines during the commissioning phase was around 1,000 MW hours.

Following completion of the full installation of the SSE equipment at Loch Carnan, Stòras Uibhist will be announcing the winners of the competition, run through the local schools, to name the turbines and design a logo for the windfarm.