Specialist business-to-business energy supplier GDF SUEZ Energy UK has agreed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Beinn Ghrideag Community Wind Farm – its first such agreement with a community-owned renewable generator.
The company will buy all of the electricity generated by this new wind farm, which is located on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland and is due for completion in September 2015.
This breakthrough project for community energy generation is being developed by the Point and Sandwick Development Trust (PSDT) and will comprise 3x3MW wind turbines, generating 25-30GWh of electricity per year – that’s enough to power up to 9,000 homes.
Santander is providing £11m of the £15m investment required to build the plant, with additional funding coming from the Renewable Energy Investment Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. All of the profit from the wind farm will be reinvested in community projects, such as insulating homes, renovating local villages, creating jobs and funding the local hospice.
The terms of the PPA were negotiated in an open tender process, with PSDT looking for the best commercial proposition and the funders looking for security and bankability.
Paul Roberts, Head of Local Portfolio Management at GDF SUEZ Energy UK, says: “We are building a strong reputation as a reliable partner in the power purchasing arena, with many large and successful projects under our belt. Our contract offer gave the funders the necessary assurances about their return on investment, while our commercial terms offered the most favourable deal for the developers.”
Under the PPA, GDF SUEZ Energy UK will buy all the output from the Beinn Ghrideag Wind Farm, as well as all ROC and LEC certificates generated by the facility, for a period of 17 years.
The location of the wind farm in the Outer Hebrides, facing the North Atlantic Ocean, will ensure a consistent and reliable supply of wind energy.
Paul adds: “We’re very excited about supporting our first community renewable energy project. Locally owned energy plants like this are playing an increasingly important role in fulfilling the UK’s renewable energy commitment. We’re delighted to be helping the Scottish Government achieve its aim of having 500MW of community-owned renewable energy capacity by 2020.”