|Wind farm location
||Hetton-Le-Hole, Sunderland, England
|Electrical output (gross)
|Number of units
||115 m to blade tip
Great Eppleton was first commissioned in March 1997. It was unique to our portfolio as it was the only project using twin-bladed turbines. Whilst the two-bladed technology is not obsolete, it's an ageing technology and the ongoing operational maintenance requirements were significant. In recent years, turbine technology has vastly increased. An individual turbine can now generate the same amount of electricity as the combined total (3 MW) of the four old turbines at Great Eppleton.
In January 2007, we submitted a planning application to Sunderland City Council to re-power the wind farm. This included removing the old turbines and replacing them with state-of-the-art machines, that would significantly increase the capacity of the scheme. In June 2007, we received consent to proceed. Construction commenced in early September 2009, with the civil contractor, J. Breheny Contractors Ltd, constructing the new access roads, turbine bases, crane hard standings and the on-site switch house. During this period the electrical contractor, Agrilek Ltd, installed the wind farms electrical infrastructure and completed the electrical fit-out works on the on-site switch house building. The main construction works were completed at the end of January 2010, at which time delivery of the turbines and installation works began. Mechanical completion and pre-commissioning of the four 2MW wind turbine generators was completed at the end of February and they were first connected to the grid in early March.
Work has recently been completed on a settlement pond on the wind farm site which will provide a haven for wildlife, and in particular, the water vole. The settlement pond follows sponsorship of a water vole survey in the area surrounding the Great Eppleton site. All four turbines were generating at full capacity by the end of March 2010 and Great Eppleton is now an 8.2 MW wind farm.