Authorities at the Falkland Islands Mount Pleasant military base (MPC) have confirmed their interest in developing a wind farm that could bring the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) considerable benefits.
After several years of negotiations it has been planned that the Stanley Power and Electrical Section of the Falklands’ Public Service Department will install the turbines at Mount Pleasant, and the Ministry of Defence will pay FIG for the energy used. “In three to four years we could be in tremendous shape with power here; electricity for the Falkland Islands capital Stanley could either be directly provided by wind, or financed by wind” according to Stanley Power Station Manager Glenn Ross.
Mr. Ross said the project would hopefully finance the cost of electricity not provided by the Stanley Wind Farm. This move would also benefit MPA, with savings on fuel, and helping meet energy saving targets. “I hate to use the expression,” said Mr. Ross, “but it is a win-win situation”.
“What I’m looking at, after our decision making process, is something that will be a success, that we can be proud of, that will be bring money into our treasury and to eventually reduce the cost of energy for you and me.”
The Wind Farm near Sand Bay Abattoir saved £600,000 last year alone, providing 26% of Stanley’s electricity. At a cost of £2.3 million and with a 20-year life, it will generate massive savings for Government. “It’s almost paid for itself already,” said Mr. Ross. “In percentage terms, there aren’t many places that have a higher percentage of renewable power than we do.”
The Falklands were named in the leading group of Overseas Territories in terms of percentage of electricity produced from renewable resources at a recent European Union seminar.
Having been in operation for two and a quarter years, the three wind turbines of phase one of the Wind Farm Project have now been joined by three more. These are now expected to raise the percentage of electricity provided from 26 to 40%.
Although running at present on a local setting, Mr. Ross said the new turbines had produced 106,000 units in one week, equivalent to more than 30 per cent of Stanley’s usage. They will go onto full remote control shortly, when expected software and flywheels arrive. Even with just the first rig, the percentage of electricity produced has already touched 60% of consumption, and it is hoped that with both phases in harness, such high percentages could be achieved more frequently.
At the same cost to government, but with diminishing returns, phase two will have recouped all investment made in approximately six years, Mr. Ross said. “For the capital that we invest, we’re going to get something like four or five times the returns. It’s very good.”