Local, European and international guests helped Eneco UK to officially open the 60MW Moy Windfarm, near the villages of Moy and Tomatin, south of Inverness.
Special guests included sustainability expert Leo Johnson, local schoolchildren and representatives of the Mars food group. A coat of arms, designed by nine-year-old competition winner Lois Ferguson from Strathdearn Primary School, was unveiled to members of the community.
CKD Galbraith has played a key role in the project from the start, securing consents for the 22km 33kV underground cable grid connection, representing the Moy Estate, and negotiating terms from the original option agreement through to completion of the site.
The windfarm is on Moy Estate and was initially a Carbon Free Developments Ltd project and received Scottish Government consent in 2012. The Dutch electricity company Eneco purchased the rights to develop and construct the Windfarm, and in 2014 Scottish Ministers agreed to increase capacity from 50MW to 60MW. The German manufacturer Nordex supplied all 20 turbines. Construction took 22 months and involved local Scottish contractors including Morrison Construction, which signed a balance of plant (BoP) contract worth 10million, and its electrical sub-contractor Southern Energy Contracting (SSEC).
Eneco has worked closely with the local community on a number of initiatives throughout the construction of the project, and a community working group has been set up to ensure the pledged fund from the windfarm is invested into the community responsibly. This totals 4,500 per installed MW throughout the commissioned lifespan of the windfarm.
Hugo Buis, Eneco's Generation and Storage Director, said: "It is good to see that the success of Eneco's windfarms in Scotland has paved the way for not only Moy Windfarm but also our other investments including Burn of Whilk, commissioned last year, and Lochluichart which opened in 2014, also located in the Scottish Highlands. These represent significant steps towards Eneco's vision of making sustainable energy available for all."
Eneco had formed a partnership with Mars UK in which Mars will take most of the energy produced on a 10-year supply agreement, allowing Mars to use 100% renewable electricity for all its UK factories and offices - 12 sites in total.
Barry Parkin, Mars' Chief Sustainability and Health and Wellbeing Officer, said: "We are proud that as a result of our partnership with Eneco, Mars' entire UK operations and our best loved brands are now powered by 100% renewable electricity."
Eneco has set up a new green collaborative tariff with Co-operative Energy for the remaining power output. The Highland and Mearns Wind Tariff is to be offered to residents living near the Moy, Tullo and Lochluichart windfarms.