Civil engineering firm Jones Bros has teamed up with a remote Scottish community to construct a unique locally owned wind farm within a historic highland estate.
The £3m contract sees Jones Bros building the infrastructure for a 12-turbine wind farm on the Ormsary and Stronachullin estates in Argyll, on the west coast of Scotland.
The project is set to bring huge benefits to the surrounding community with a portion of the wind farm profits going to an educational trust to provide bursaries to assist local youngsters into higher education.
The Allt Dearg Community Wind Farm will generate 10MW, sufficient to power up to 6,000 homes in nearby Ardrishaig and Lochgilphead.
The community wind farm, which is part owned by local people, is believed to be the first of its kind in Scotland to be developed without public funds. This model of locally owned wind farms, whilst well established in countries such as Denmark and Germany, is still uncommon in the UK.
Jones Bros began the project in January and it is expected to be complete by the end of this year. The work is providing a welcome economic boost to the area with local firms being recruited as sub contractors, including civil engineering firm George McNaughton & Son, based in nearby Lochgilphead.
Jones Bros is also working alongside landowner Duncan Broadfoot, whose farm Stronachullin, provides access to the wind farm.
Jones Bros project manager James McColl said: “The contract is going extremely well and, when complete, will be of benefit to the surrounding community. It is also providing a boost to the local economy, as we are employing local suppliers and making full use of the facilities in the area.”
James Lithgow, of Ormsary, grandson of leading industrialist and shipbuilder Sir James Lithgow, who installed the first hydro electric station at Ormsary in 1919, said: “This project is unique as it is entirely community driven and this has helped to ensure the maximum economic benefit of the project is locally retained.
“Since we started back in January, we have had blizzards, 100mph storms, freezing rain and some days you can’t see more than 20 ft in low cloud, but the people working on site have kept going throughout.
“Last week the digger operators had to keep chipping the ice off the cabs to see out, but this didn’t slow things down much and we are still building a mile of new road every three weeks.”
Jones Bros has been increasingly working on contracts in Scotland and, in the past two years, has opened two Scottish offices in Linlithgow and Inverness.
In the last 18 months, Jones Bros has also opened an additional office in Swansea to help secure contracts in south Wales and south west England. Most recently, it launched a base in Oxfordshire after securing a £9m waste management contract.
Founded in the 1950s and employing 270 people, the family-owned company has grown rapidly in the last decade. It is currently working on contracts in various sectors including landfill, highways, flood and marine defence and renewables around the UK.