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News blog21 April 20231 min read

Gigha Island hosts the 1rst Community owned grid connected wind farm

Gigha Island hosts the 1rst Community owned grid connected wind farm

The Isle of Gigha is situated approximately 60 miles to the West-South-West of Glasgow and off the Kintyre peninsula. The Island developed the Gigha Battery Project, and is host to the first community-owned grid-connected wind farm in Scotland. The ‘Dancing Ladies’, as they are called, consist of three original V27 turbines with a combined capacity of 675 kW.  A fourth wind turbine of 330 kW has now been installed. The project is funded by the UK Governement, and implemented by Community Energy Scotland.

The need for this project developed from the fact that electricity supply on the island suffered from distant faults occurring over a wide area, causing several interruptions and disruptions to the community.  The island also had to face network constraints, preventing the island to contribute further to the transition towards renewable energy sources. Indeed, voltage constraints prevented the realisation of potential additional renewable generation capacity (additional wind turbines, photo-voltaic panels and tidal-stream generators).

The better adapted solution, taking into consideration the features of the Island, was an Energy Storage solution.  To this end this DECC project provided for the installation of a 1.26mWh Vanadium Redox Flow battery on the island linked to the constrained Enercon E33 to relieve the otherwise constrained 105kW of the 4th wind turbine. The modular 15kW/240kW tanks of Vanadium redox flow electrolytes housed within seven 20 foot shipping containers with an eighth housing the power control system was meant to allow for an increase of 20% in wind energy generation, enabling the community to generate income from selling wind energy to the market at times of high demand and higher price. Being positioned 'behind the meter' the battery can store power and release at times when there is capacity on the grid. This not only enables the community of Gigha to access the additional power and thereby income, but allows this technology to be prototyped in a real world environment.

This project aimed to demonstrate a utility scale system in a demanding application and support the commercial scale –up and production of flow batteries. The project also has a wider impact, since today, off grid islands of Scotland and isolated peninsulas are looking at replicating this model for a better performance of their renewable resources. 


Publication date
21 April 2023