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Longhill burn Geosynthetics

Longhill burn Wind Farm

  • A E Yates

  • West Lothian

  • SX Grid

Longhill Burn installation

A new multi-million-pound wind farm is currently being constructed in West Lothian and, upon completion in 2022, it will be one of the largest onshore farms in the UK. Work at Longhill Burn wind farm in West Calder started in April 2021, with operations and management delivered by leading wind farm business, Energiekontor UK.

During the early phases of the project, due to the remote location of the wind farm, a track road was created to carry vehicles, machinery and goods needed for construction. Bolton-based contractor, A E Yates that was assigned to the project, called on our technical team to supply the necessary Geogrids – also used at sister site Dalquhandy wind farm near Coalburn.

With projects of this size and scale, track roads are built to transport vehicles and parts. Geogrids are used to layer across the tracks and help to reinforce soil and similar materials, creating a strong surface to withstand heavy machinery.

In this case, the road was 4.5m wide, and the standard size for geogrid rolls is 4m. This would mean using double the quantity of rolls and having them overlap in the middle, which would then be too wide, meaning excess would have to be removed. This uses up vital time in the progress of a project, not to mention the wastage it creates, which unnecessarily adds to our carbon footprint.

Our 4.5m wide geogrid, SX 3030, perfectly suited this project, cutting out unnecessary delays and costs.

Another major time saving was being able to utilise our Linlithgow depot, which is just 13 miles down the road from the West Calder wind farm site. This enabled the contractor to meet extra requirements when needed, even within a tight schedule. If more rolls were needed, they could easily collect and the yard team would ensure everything was ready to go.

Usually this would require a five-to-six-day lead time but, in this instance, the team could have things ready by the next morning. With time being so precious in construction, this option ensured vital cash savings were made by avoiding contractors and their vehicles being left waiting.

This has been a prestigious project that we were excited to be involved with and came at a high value to the business, with a high supply of product used within the job. Being part of the renewable energy sector is also something we are proud to have contributed to, as many civil engineering firms and construction businesses are striving towards a carbon net zero goal. In addition, in most circumstances, these roads are removed once construction is finished, but it has been confirmed these roads will remain in place for future use by Scottish Power and for maintenance, further showcasing a dedication to the renewable world we are all striving towards.

While the supply for the track roads has been completed, the project is ongoing and will require further input from us at another stage – namely the pylon mats which incorporate the same SX grid products. This will be in the new year, to enable cranes to put the pylons in place.

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