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United Kingdom

Utility adds to wind portfolio; Hagshaw Hill sold

ScottishPower has bought Scotland's only operating wind farm at Hagshaw Hill in Lanarkshire, putting an end to a dispute with the project's developer, Trigen, that the wind farm was commissioned earlier than it should have been and resolving Trigen's earlier worries over payment of its full contracted price under the Scottish Renewables Obligation (SRO).

Scotland's only operating wind farm has been bought by ScottishPower in a £15 million deal with the project's developer Trigen, a consortium of Tomen of Japan, SeaWest of California and Cornwall-based Ecogen. The 15 MW project at Hagshaw Hill near Douglas in Lanarkshire -- in ScottishPower's own franchise area -- has been producing electricity since November 1995. ScottishPower took over commercial operations in June.

Jumped the gun

The deal appears to have resolved Trigen's earlier worries over payment of its full contracted price under the Scottish Renewables Obligation (SRO). Until April, output from Hagshaw Hill had been paid for at only a fraction of its contracted price. This was due to Scottish Office procrastination in setting a Renewables Levy to pay for the additional costs of the SRO. Without the levy in place, ScottishPower -- in its role as local public electricity supplier -- was prepared to pay only £0.014/kWh. ScottishPower claims that Trigen commissioned the wind farm earlier than it should have. "Our case was that they had jumped the gun a bit," says ScottishPower's Colin McSeveny. "The fact that we have bought the wind farm from Trigen means that that particular dispute is finished. The £15 million price we paid takes in everything and covers all eventualities. Now they have got the money and we have got the wind farm. Everybody is happy."

Even before the purchase, ScottishPower could justify its claim to be the UK's leading wind generator. Its takeover of electricity utility MANWEB earlier this year had already added shares in two more wind farms to its books. Hagshaw Hill brings the company's portfolio of wind generation to 52.5 MW -- more than a quarter of the total output from all UK wind farms. Its interests now spread to all corners of the British Isles with wind farms in Wales, Northern Ireland, England and now Scotland. In addition it expects to build another in Donegal in Ireland. Ken Vowles, executive director, generation says: "This successful purchase of niche generation will add to the company's portfolio of renewable generation and we will be looking at opportunities to build on this both in the UK and abroad."

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