The controversial £20 million installation of ten new 300ft wind turbines between Newquay and Truro has been officially opened.
ScottishPower Renewables’ (SPR) has spent months replacing the 15 smaller 49-metre turbines at Carland Cross, near St Newlyn East, with the larger devices.
The plans were approved two years ago by a planning inspector following a heated six-day public inquiry.
The work will more than triple the wind farm’s output from 6MW to 20MW of electricity – enough to power more than 12,000 homes.
Keith Anderson, ScottishPower Renewables CEO, said: “Carland Cross was the very first windfarm in our operational portfolio, and we have grown from this single project to become one of the largest developers and generators of wind power in the UK.
“It is a major engineering achievement to have completed the project on schedule – only a very small number of similar projects have ever been undertaken. Credit goes to everyone in the project teams at ScottishPower Renewables, Balfour Beatty and Gamesa for delivering the project successfully.
“Cornwall was a UK pioneer in embracing renewable energy and developing wind power projects on a commercial scale.”
The official opening was overseen by Mr Anderson, and guests included councillors and officials, as well as management teams from the company’s main contractors Balfour Beatty and Gamesa. First power was achieved in March this year, all of the new turbines were fully installed by the end of July, and the site became fully operational in August.
Carland Cross was one of the first windfarms to be built anywhere in the UK when it became operational in 1992. The project consisted of 15 Vestas turbines, each with a capacity of 400 kilowatts (kW). The ten replacement Gamesa turbines that have been installed by SPR are five times more powerful than their original counterparts, with a capacity of 2,000kW (2 Megawatts) each.
In total around 100 people have worked or been involved in the project. The windfarm will now be managed by a full-time site supervisor, plus 5 technicians.
SPR said the site will support a range of other services over the 25 year lifetime, including:
• HV electrical network providers
• Civil contractors to support building/road maintenance
• Specialist turbine technical resources
• ScottishPower Renewables project management team resources
• Environmental/Ecological monitoring resources
Approval of the new turbines had been opposed by local group Residents Against Turbines (RATS), who argued that they would have an unacceptable visual impact.