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Windflow looks to Scotland's Outer Hebrides

Tuesday 26th April 2011

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Riccarton-based turbine company Windflow Technology says it is working with the North Harris Trust to investigate the feasibility of a wind project on a small Scottish island.

Windflow, listed on the NZX, manufactures the Windflow 500 turbine designed for strong, turbulent winds and said that if the project went ahead the stake it held would be decided later, "as other parties may become involved as the project progresses".

The North Harris Trust is a registered charity, established in 2003, to manage the North Harris Estate when it was bought by the local community on Lewis and Harris, 400km northwest of Glasgow in Scotland's Outer Hebrides islands.

The trust for the windy Scottish island said last month it was seeking planning permission for large three-bladed Evance 9000 turbines, but Windlow said that the islanders had not, so far, sourced suitable turbines

It was now looking at the potential use of up to three Windflow 500 kW turbines, which would be smaller and have a lower environmental impact than the initial proposal, said the New Zealand company. Its own two-blade turbine "particularly suits the robust turbulent conditions at the site".

North Harris Trading chairman David Cameron said that Windflow had the ideal turbine for the site and working with its staff in Scotland would let the community take a new look at generating their own energy.

The trust would have between 10% and 30% ownership of the project and a proportion of revenue from electricity sales, as well as a separate annual land rental.

Windflow said that an important hurdle yet to be overcome was the availability of an electrical grid connection to take the electricity generated by the turbines.

"The issue of capacity constraints on the local grid needs to be worked through with the local network operator before any decision to proceed can be made," said Windflow chief executive Geoff Henderson, who worked on a wind project on the far northern island of Orkney in the 1980s.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the 'next generation' Windflow turbine back on a Scottish island," he said.

Windflow had over 80 turbines installed in New Zealand, with proven performance in very windy and turbulent conditions, and had established operations in Britain with two full-time staff there working closely with its UK distributor VG Energy. They were preparing to market small and mid-size turbines, and there were planning applications for around 20 Windflow turbines in Scotland, the first of which received planning permission in December.

Windflow has about 50 staff who design and manufacture the Windflow 500 turbine.



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