Fair winds blow Galson on course

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Installation of the community-owned wind turbine at Ballantrushal in North West Lewis was completed last Friday with only minimal weather delays.

Galson Energy Ltd., the renewable energy subsidiary of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn, is now reflecting on a successful week as it moves into the final stage of commissioning and energising the turbine over the remainder of this month.

Installation works commenced on Monday with transportation of the main components from Stornoway, some being stored temporarily at Galson Motors in Barvas and the others at the turbine site. Construction got off the mark on Tuesday morning and proceeded apace despite some poor weather conditions over Wednesday and Thursday. By Thursday evening, the main tower structure was built, awaiting the rotor and blades. These were assembled on Friday morning, awaiting suitable weather conditions for lifting into place.

The final stage on Friday afternoon was very tense, waiting for the wind to drop to the required level of 6 metres per second (13mph) to allow the blades to be installed safely. Suddenly, about 2pm the sun broke through and the wind dropped sufficiently. The installation team lost no time - the rotor with blades attached was hoisted up into the blue skies and attached, all within half an hour. The nose cone was fitted in the early evening and, following final checks, the securing pin was then removed, allowing the blades to turn into the wind.

Installation proceeded very smoothly given the time of year, incredibly only 6 hours was accounted for in weather delays during a time of year noted for its strong equinoxial winds. The subsequent weekend gales only served to highlight the fortuitous weather window experienced on Friday.

The turbine is a 900kW capacity wind generator with a 55m height to the hub at the top of the tower. This is the same model of turbine installed in Shawbost in 2012 and in Tolsta earlier this year.

Carola Bell, chair of Galson Energy Ltd., commented : “It is was very exciting to witness the installation being successfully completed last week. This gives a great boost to the company and to Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn in realising an important part of the vision set out for Galson Estate. We can now turn our focus to the final stages of commissioning and energising the turbine over the coming weeks, looking forward to becoming an electricity generator later in the Autumn.”