EDF Energy Renewables has officially opened its M1 wind farm near Quinton, Northampton.

The nine turbine site, located off the M1, six miles from Northampton, is capable of delivering over 7 megawatts (MW) of low carbon electricity, enough to meet the average annual needs of approximately 3,800 homes*

Having been granted planning permission in May 2013, construction at the site started in November 2013. Commissioning of the turbines was completed early the following summer before the wind farm going fully operational in June 2014.

Prior to the project being given the green light, the company carried out wide ranging environmental studies and an extensive consultation with local people and special interest groups. The feedback from local people helped to inform the resulting planning application.

When the company came to build the wind farm, of the 11 contracts relating to construction, several were awarded to local companies. The work, involving firms from Northampton and the surrounding area included concrete and aggregate supply, core drilling, survey and surfacing activities, fencing and road marking.

The total value of the contracts awarded to locally is estimated to be over £0.5million.
Now that the site is up and running, EDF Energy Renewables  aims to keep the local community involved and is keen that those living near the site benefit from the investment.

This is why EDF Energy Renewables set up a local community fund with a value of £27,000 a year split between five local parish councils.

In the fund’s first year, applications have included a marquee for village events, installing and updating children’s play equipment and widening a pedestrian footpath used by local children on their way to school.
Christian Egal, CEO of EDF Energy Renewables said:
“I’m delighted to open this wonderful site. M1 is the latest wind farm in our portfolio and another project that I’m proud to say we delivered on time and to the schedule we communicated to those living nearby.
“Our relationship with the local community is something we hold dearly and I remain grateful to all those who participated in the consultation process. I am also very happy that so many local firms were able to contribute to the construction and ultimately the success of the project.
“Developments like M1 represent a real investment in the local area as well as a sign of our continuing commitment to low carbon infrastructure across the UK.”
Nick Bradford, Head of Asset Management, EDF Energy Renewables said:
“M1 is another important building block in EDF Energy Renewables’ contribution to the UK’s low carbon economy which we are expanding all the time. We hope through safely and efficiently operating the wind farm here, to become an enduring part of the local community.”
*Please note these figures are based on onshore turbines operating at 26.06% capacity factor (2008-2012 average load factor for onshore wind from Digest of UK Energy Statistics) and assuming 4,222 is the average UK household electricity consumption in kW hours (based on DECCs publication URN:13D/310 December 2013).

Fast facts:

• The total diameter of the rotor blades is 53m.
• The turbines are operated by a gearless, variable speed mechanism with single blade adjustment.
• The turbines measure 60m from the ground to hub height.
• There is a minimum clearance of 33.5m between the ground and the tips of the rotor blades.
• The turbines start to generate electricity at a wind speed of 2.5m/s.