Scotland's LargestWind Farm

by the CADDET UK National Team


Scotland's largest wind farm was officially opened on 14 July 1997 in the Dumfries and Galloway region. It is called Windy Standard Wind Farm.


The wind farm is located on the hills above the Carsphairn Forest, some 9 km north of Carsphairn. It extends over two discrete sites, locally called Gallow Rig and Polwhat Rig. Windy Standard will generate between 70 and 80 million kWh of electricity each year, enough to supply about 20,000 homes. It has been developed and will be operated by National Wind Power Ltd on behalf of the joint owners, National Power plc and Fred.Olsen Ltd. Construction was by Taylor Woodrow Northern.

All the electricity generated by Windy Standard will be consumed within South West Scotland, which will help to avoid the extra transmission costs and losses from importing electricity from conventional power stations in the central region of Scotland. Electricity will be supplied at around 0.04pounds sterling /kWh, by contract under the first round of the Scottish Renewables Obligation.


The planning application for Windy Standard was passed unanimously by Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council in November 1995 and released by the Secretary of State in March 1996. Construction commenced in the same month and the wind farm came on-line in November 1996. The cost was about 17.5 million.

The 21.6 MW wind farm consists of 36 turbines, each of 600 kW rating, made by Nordtank A/S. The wind farm covers an area of 350 ha, 500-680 m above sea level. The turbines are about 200 m apart and each occupy a footprint of around 18 m2 (the wind farm will cover about 1% of the site). Each turbine is 35 m high to the centre of the hub with a three-bladed rotor of 37 m diameter. They start to generate electricity automatically when the wind speed reaches 5 m/s and achieve maximum output at around 15 m/s . They shut down when the wind speed exceeds 25 m/s.

Power output from the turbines is delivered by underground cables to a substation which is in an old quarry in the forest. From the substation the power is carried by a 33 kV line to existing Scottish Power overhead lines connecting to the local electricity grid network for distribution. At 0.04 pounds sterling per unit, the electricity produced by Windy Standard is comparable to that supplied by conventional power stations.


The area around the wind farm is very sparsely populated. It has no national or local designation for nature conservation, but is within an agricultural designation the Western Southern Uplands Environmentally Sensitive Area. The developers therefore approached Dumfries and Galloway Regional Council at an early stage and consulted widely to ensure that the ecology of the site was preserved. Consultees included: Scottish Natural Heritage; Solway River Purification Board; the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; Carsphairn Community Council and New Cumnock Community Council.

In keeping with its "good neighbour" policies, and by way of responding positively to local community needs, National Wind Power and Fred.Olsen have made available low interest loans at Carsphairn which have enabled the local community to buy the village shop and sub post office the only such facility within 16 km. Community funds elsewhere have been used to fund various local groups and organisations including equipment for schools, repairs to community buildings, local festivals and shows.


Last year, UK wind farms produced over 500 million kWh of clean electricity; this year the current 38 operational wind farms are expected to produce over 750 million kWh which will offset some 640,000 tonnes of CO2. Windy Standard alone will offset the release of up to 70,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

For more information contact the CADDET UK National Team in Oxfordshire.

The CADDET Renewable Energy Newsletter is a quarterly magazine published by the CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy at ETSU, UK.

The articles published in the Newsletter reflect the opinions of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the official view of CADDET.

Enquiries concerning the Newsletter should be addressed to
Pauline Toole, Editor, CADDET Centre for Renewable Energy, ETSU, Harwell, Oxfordshire OX11 0RA, United Kingdom. Tel: +44 1235 432968, Fax: +44 1235 433595.