Author Archives: alex

Price Increase notification for December 2016

Findhorn Wind Park (FWP) has advised NFD of a rise in the electricity price that will come through for NFD usage from December 2016 as a result of our signing up for a new ‘Green’ tariff. The will result in a 1% rise across day, standard and night rates. Using the current November figures as an example, the standard rate would be 13.47 pence (up 0.14 pence), a day rate of 14.47 pence (up 0.14pence) and a night rate of 10.83 pence (up 0.10pence).

The price charged by FWP to NFD is based on Scottish and Southern Energy’s (SSE) domestic tariffs. When the wind does not blow strongly enough to generate all the power required for the Park, FWP imports the balance from the grid. With the recent growth of the Park estate (East Whins), the decommissioning of Moya, and relatively low winds in the past 12 months, FWP was a net importer rather than exporter of electricity. Things may improve in the coming year – however, all the power used by the Park, whether produced by FWP or purchased from SSE is now produced from renewable sources.

PV Progress

In a new initiative we have now begun installing PV panels on the roofs of various properties at East Whins. These will feed into the Park’s grid and offset part of the reduction in renewables production now that our 75kW wind turbine (erected in 1989) is being decommissioned.

All Change

Moya is running! We invested in repairing Moya and trust that her site will continue to be available for another year. At present Moya represents 25% of our generating capacity because of the breakdowns of two of her big sisters.

During high winds on 28th March Joy (the turbine nearest the barracks) blew electrical components with some force. Replacements are on order and we hope to have Joy turning again soon.

A week later gear oil was found at the foot of Gratitude (the turbine nearest the sea). Gear boxes are costly and Gratitude has been shut down as a precaution pending full investigation today.

Beauty is the turbine at the heart of the cluster. Though running, she is making more noise than in the past. A new gear box is on order and will probably be fitted in May. This is a major repair requiring a large crane, fair weather, access with the kind co-operation of our neighbours at Kinloss Barracks and co-ordination with flight planning at RAF Lossiemouth.

The current breakdowns mean that the ORIGIN project is forecasting much lower renewable energy availability than might be expected on windy days. We look forward to returning to full generating capacity as soon as possible.

Celebrate Moya

In October 2014 Moya turned 25 years of age. Over her life she has watched the community grow along with our use of electricity at the Park. It’s time to celebrate this community elder!

When John Talbott oversaw her arrival in 1989, she stood on her own, capable of delivering up to 75kW of electricity to the community. There were times when this was enough to generate a small export, but by 2006 this no longer happened. The constant demand from fridges, freezers, the Living Machine, computer servers, etc and the many appliances on ‘standby’ had grown to more than 75kW. It was then that Moya was joined by her three big (though younger) sisters.

Together, the four wind mills are able to generate up to 750kW when the winds are strong enough. They produced 15% more electricity than the Park consumed in the year to the end of Oct 2014.

At 25 years of age, Moya has been part of the Findhorn community longer than most of the human residents. As with an ageing car, costly repairs are becoming more frequent. For a wind turbine 25 is quite a ripe age. Moya stands on land owned by our neighbours at Cullerne Farm.

After 25 years the lease arrangement for the site expired and we have recently signed a new agreement. FWP had hoped to be able to replace Moya with a new turbine of larger capacity, however this is not commercially viable at present. The owners of Cullerne Farm are also disappointed that this is not possible and want to be able to explore the possibility of using the site for a turbine of their own.

For this reason, the new lease on the site has a three month notice period. The result is that we are rather uncertain just how long Moya will remain with us. As with an old car, for some time now, FWP has had to carefully look at the cost of significant repairs needed. Now we also have to consider that Moya may have to make way for the ‘next generation’ on her site.

So while she is still with us, let’s appreciate the presence of this elder in our community. Give thanks for her and the visionaries in NFD that worked to bring her here over 25 years ago.