Scottish Equity Partners (SEP) will invest up to £9 million in Hamsin Wind (Hamsin) to fund the roll-out of around 200 community-based onshore wind turbines across the Highlands and Islands.
SEP has completed its first clean energy infrastructure investment from the Environmental Capital Fund, a £135 million infrastructure fund created by the company last year. The aim of the fund is to support investment in UK-based clean energy projects. It is backed by SSE plc alongside a syndicate of financial investors led by Lexington Partners, the world’s largest independent manager of secondary private equity and co-investment funds.
Hamsin has engaged Kingspan Wind as the turbine supply partner, with Hadrian Electrical Engineering the installation and long-term operations and maintenance partner. Many of the Kingspan turbines are manufactured in Scotland and local contractors will be utilised on Hamsin turbine installations. The project will give farmers and landowners the opportunity to install small single turbines on their properties, thereby benefitting from discounted power charges over the next 20 years and beyond. The turbines themselves will be sited in high wind speed locations and will be sympathetic with rural landscapes, being no more than 20 metres high. This means they will also be easy to erect and subject to a straightforward planning process.
“Hamsin marks an exciting initial investment for SEP’s infrastructure fund” said SEP Director Peter Bachmann. “We are looking forward to working with local landowners to ensure a successful roll-out of small wind turbines at a significant number of sites across rural Scotland. Hamsin will help remote communities benefit from their local wind resource to generate green, low cost power. In some areas, it will play a key role in helping tackle fuel poverty. Hamsin is the first of several small-scale clean energy infrastructure investment opportunities being progressed by SEP.”
The scheme could be replicated at other high wind speed areas across the country, both on residential and commercial sites. Further locations are actively being sought. The first turbines will be operational in Orkney by the end of this month.