SSE Renewables have detonated the last remaining test turbine at the Hunterston National Offshore Turbine Test Facility in explosive style.

Following six years of testing, the 6MW Siemens turbine was safely brought down to the ground in an operation by lead decommissioning contractors, Keltbray, and under the supervision of SSE Renewables.

The operation involved a controlled felling using explosive charges just before midday last Thursday, providing a spectacular sight after the mist had lifted.

The turbine site has been instrumental over the past six years in providing key data and testing technology which enabled the deployment of 84 turbines at Beatrice Offshore Windfarm in the Moray Firth which is Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm, and the fourth largest in the world, generating enough green energy to power 450,000 homes every year and save around 8 million tonnes of harmful carbon emissions over its expected 25-year lifetime operation.

Jeremy Williamson, Director of Operations for SSE Renewables, said: “Scotland has been at the forefront of innovation in renewable energy for the past two decades, and the Siemens turbine at Hunterston has played an important role in that innovation. Without the learnings that we took from Hunterston, we may not have been able to develop Beatrice Offshore Windfarm.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the decommissioning at Hunterston for their role in ensuring that the project was completely safely and with minimum disruption. It has been another excellent example of teamwork.”

Ross Cowie, Hunterston Project Manager at SSE Renewables, said: “Our original intention was to dismantle the components of the turbine by crane. However, a suitable method of doing so safely could not be established. As a result, it was agreed by all parties involved in the project that the safest method was to utilise a controlled felling.”

The turbine will be dismantled and removed and, where possible, components will be processed for re-use.

Photos: Todd Ferguson