GFG Alliance unveils new windfarm project

Onshore wind facility could help power infrastructure group’s aluminium smelter.

GFG Alliance has unveiled plans to build a new onshore windfarm in the Highlands of Scotland, which it claims will generate up to 178MW of energy.

The windfarm will be developed by SIMEC Energy and consist of 54 turbines at Glenshero.

It will help power GFG Alliance’s aluminium smelter and proposed alloy wheels factory in Fort William, along with the infrastructure group’s steel mills in Lanarkshire.

Some of the steel required for the turbines may also be sourced locally at Liberty’s Dalzell plant in Motherwell and could possibly be fabricated at a planned nearby wind tower manufacturing plant.

The GFG Alliance’s strategy board has now given the green light for the investment and the group said it will now proceed to the next step of consulting with the local community and stakeholders, before submitting a planning application next year.

The group said it is also hoping to offer shared-ownership and discounted energy costs for local residents.

GFG Alliance’s chief investment officer and the chief executive of SIMEC Energy, Jay Hambro, said Glenshero is a “unique project in our portfolio”.

“It would be built in an environment of zero subsidies, using steel rolled and finished in Scotland and then generate clean energy to support the Scottish metals industry,” said Hambro.

“It is also an exciting opportunity for us to work with the local community and encourage their investment, alongside our own,” he added. “This is truly a win-win project for all parties.”

The group also owns the associated hydro power stations in Fort William and said it also wants to discuss proposals to enhance its existing plants with local stakeholders over the coming weeks.

It is also looking at the possibility of more small-scale hydro plants around Lochaber and Kinlochleven.

“Our aim is a joined-up plan with the different elements working together,” said the newly-appointed chief executive of the GFG division which manages the estate lands, JAHAMA Highland Estates, Duncan Mackison.

“We will engage with all local stakeholders to bring in those interested in investment in the wind project and make sure the local area shares the potential benefit of the energy generation.”