The power of the wind generates electrical power…and that is because Hebridean winds are very powerful, as a wind turbine in Harris found out recently.
The turbine in question on the Monan site near Ardhasaig had been out of action for some time. It was parked with its blades facing in what turned out to be the wrong direction when a gust of about 100mph last Thursday snapped the blades and tore the roof off the nacelle.
This is the site of two other turbines. The project was organised by the North Harris Trust over quite a number of years. Planning permission was secured along with grid connection in 2009. The Trust struggled to get a European turbine manufacturer interested in the site because of the high levels of turbulence. Despite the good open aspect to the south west, the hills surrounding the site interfere in certain directions, stirring up the wind.
In January 2014, the Monan Wind Company was established as a joint venture between the Trust and Windflow Technology Ltd to progress the development. Windflow have a unique two-bladed design that works in the high turbulence caused by the big hills of North Harris. Work started on site in the summer of 2014. In spring 2015, the last of three 500kW machines was commissioned.
Photographs by Dona Johnson