Gaelectric to purchase turbines from Enercon for Antrim wind farm

16 Jul 2012

Irish energy tech company Gaelectric has entered into a turbine supply agreement with the German wind turbine manufacturer ENERCON for its Carn Hill wind farm project in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.

As well as supplying the turbines for the project, Gaelectric said that Enercon will also be providing most of the civil and electrical infrastructure for this wind farm on Carn Hill, which is part of the first phase of Gaelectric’s onshore wind portfolio on the island of Ireland.

Gaelectric is aiming to invest a total of stg£200m in the wind-farm area by 2016. The Carn Hill project represents a total investment of stg£20m, according to the company.

It has already completed the first stage of construction at the site, which is located north of Slievetrue Road, Carn Hill in Co Antrim. Up to now, Gaelectric said that Carn Hill had been used for livestock grazing.

The company said that the agreement with Enercon will see the completion and commissioning of the project during the first quarter of 2013.

The Carn Hill project will consist of six Enercon wind turbines with 2.3MW rated power each.

Gaelectric said that these turbines will be similar to those supplied by Enercon to its wind energy project at Skrine, Co Roscommon. That wind farm was commissioned in 2011.

When the Carn Hill wind farm is up and running, Gaelectrcic is hoping that it will generate sufficient renewable power to meet the electricity needs of 7,900 homes and contribute to the displacement of approximately 25,000 tonnes of CO2.

Gaelectric said it has already secured a power purchase agreement with ESB Electric Ireland for the sale of power generated at Carn Hill.

“Carn Hill is a strategically important project due to the significant contribution it will make to Gaelectric’s portfolio of generating assets and, given its prominent location on an elevated site north of Belfast City, the clear signal it gives to the direction of power market development in Ireland towards renewable energy sources,” said Gaelectric CEO Brendan McGrath.

Gaelectric recently appointed RBC Capital Markets as investment advisers on the rollout its onshore portfolio of wind energy projects on the island of Ireland. The company said that most of its wind energy projects in Ireland have been “substantially de-risked” and are either at financial close, construction ready, or have consents in place, including grid offers.

Gaelectric also has wind energy and energy storage projects in various stages of development in the US

Enercon in Ireland

As for Enercon it installed its first wind farm in Ireland in 1988. The company also opened a service headquarters in Tralee, Kerry back in 2010. In 2011 Enercon shipped 18 of its E-70 turbines for the Castledockrell wind farm, near Bunclody in Co Wexford. That particular wind farm is operated by Castledockrell Wind Group.

Energy storage

Gaelectric also operates in the energy storage area. In May of last year the company announced it was to collaborate with Beacon Power to progress its expertise in flywheel energy storage technology at Beacon’s 20-megawatt flywheel-based energy storage plant in Stephentown, New York.

Beacon Power filed for bankruptcy in October 2011, however. Following that the private equity firm Rockland Capital, which focuses on energy-related investments, announced in February this year that it was to acquire Beacon’s Stephentown plant. At the time, Rockland Capital also said it was intending to build a second 20MW flywheel energy storage plant.

Wind turbine image via Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic