Amazon’s first UK windfarm comes online in Kintyre

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Global tech giant Amazon’s first renewable energy project in the UK, located in Kintyre, became operational last week.

The company has announced it will purchase 100 per cent of the power output from ScottishPower Renewables’ Beinn an Tuirc 3 windfarm.

The largest ScottishPower windfarm to be built without a government support scheme, its construction was enabled by Amazon’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

The 50MW, 14-turbine windfarm is now generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of almost 46,000 homes, bringing more green energy on to the UK grid.

The energy generated will power Amazon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres, corporate offices and fulfilment centres across the UK.

PPAs allow developers to invest in and build new green infrastructure projects with a clear route to market and without relying on public funding for renewable energy while corporate customers benefit from a trusted source of clean energy, certainty, and a reduction in their own carbon footprint.

Speaking last week, Lindsay McQuade, chief executive officer of ScottishPower Renewables, said: ‘It’s really exciting to mark the completion of Beinn an Tuirc 3 and the start of our PPA with Amazon during UK Wind Week and with just a few days to go until the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference gets underway.

‘If we’re going to reach net zero over the next 30 years, we need to quadruple the amount of renewable energy produced in the UK so we can move away from petrol and diesel cars; electrify public transport; get rid of gas boilers and move to electric heating for our homes; and lower emissions from heavy industry and the goods and services we rely on every day.

‘We’re proud to have delivered Amazon’s first renewable project in the UK, supporting The Climate Pledge and the company’s commitment to be net-zero carbon across its business by 2040.

‘This will support a greener and more sustainable economy and help us all enjoy a cleaner and better future, quicker.’

John Boumphrey, Amazon’s UK country manager, added: ‘Amazon is on a path to powering our operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of schedule.

‘We are excited that our first Scottish windfarm is now contributing to that goal, and we have three more large-scale renewable projects in development across the UK.

‘Investing in clean energy and working across all of our operations to become more efficient is just one of the many actions we are taking to reach our commitment as part of The Climate Pledge to be net-zero carbon by 2040.’

South Kintyre’s three councillors welcomed the news and the potential benefits it could bring to Kintyre.

Councillor John Armour said: ‘I am delighted that Kintyre has been chosen and recognised in taking this forward.

‘It highlights the fact that with the right will from all concerned Kintyre can be a hub for future wind turbine production and for work connected with the ongoing maintenance of windfarms.

‘We have a purpose-built factory and top-class workforce so we need to see all parties working together to bring this all together.’

Argyll First Councillor Donald Kelly added: ‘It is encouraging that Amazon is trying to reduce its carbon footprint through investing in Beinn an Tuirc 3.

‘This certainly raises the profile of Kintyre’s capability to be part of the ongoing drive to deliver onshore renewable energy projects.’

Councillor Rory Colville said: ‘Whilst this partnership approach has undoubtedly put Kintyre on the map, what could be truly transformational is if Amazon, using energy direct from Beinn an Tuirc 3, based its AWS data centre here in Kintyre.

‘Recently, MACC Business Park was promoted in the national press as a site for a new green datacentre; all it needs is for some or all of the new proposed transatlantic cable to be channelled in to the base. It could be the start of a whole new industry.’

In other green energy news, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has awarded a funding package to a Kintyre-based hydrogen production and distribution project under the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund.

As outlined in the Chancellor’s Budget, £184,793 has been awarded to the MACC Hydrogen Futures viability study, through which Machrihanish Airbase Community Company plans to complete a detailed feasibility and design project with a view to establishing a green hydrogen production and distribution facility.

£262,395 was also awarded to help fund feasibility studies, business plans, investment cases and planning applications as a prelude to a £13 million transformation project to regenerate Tarbert.

Highlands and Islands MSP Donald Cameron said: ‘These investment packages from Rishi Sunak are welcome news for Argyll and Bute, and in particular Kintyre.

‘The chancellor’s financial support from the Community Renewal Fund means that people living in Kintyre will see the benefits of these extremely worthwhile projects that look to regenerate or innovate within their area.’