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Success story: 180kW site in the Shetland Islands

August 1 2022

On top of a hill in the Shetland Islands lies the Hillhead Wind farm. Its 2 turbines, a WES 100 and a Wes 80, generate green power in one of the best regions for the wind power resource in Britain.

The Hillhead Wind farm was built in 2014 and is still run by one of the original owners – Drew Ratter. Drew oversees the ongoing operations on the farm and takes care of securing the power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the export power generated on site.

A few years ago, most independent generators would only look at renewing their PPAs on an operational basis. If there were no issues with their current supplier, as the contract expiry date approached, they’d simply request a price update directly from their existing offtaker.

Hillhead Wind turbines

Hillhead Wind turbines

But in 2019, Drew discovered Renewable Exchange. He realised that by going out to the whole of the market, he could find a better price for his PPA and the embedded benefits. He ran the first PPA tender through the Renewable Exchange platform in 2020 and managed to quickly and efficiently execute a new contract.

Towards the end of 2021, the power crisis really hit. In December, Drew was about to renew his PPA starting in February 2022. He used the Renewable Exchange platform again and managed to secure a price increase of £100/MWh from his previous contract. The price difference between the first and the last bid was over £50/MWh! At this point he decided to switch suppliers and go for the highest bidder.

The Renewable Exchange team kept an eye on the PPA price developments for Hillhead Wind and reported back to Drew when the prices spiked again. This was when he decided to tender out responding to the market change, rather than leaving things until last minute. He launched a tender for a contract renewing more than 7 months ahead.

This was a great decision! On this round of tendering, Hillhead Wind locked in a further price increase of more than £70/MWh, reaching a price of £224.94/MWh on a 1-year contract. He was particularly pleased that the winner was OVO Energy, his current offtaker, with whom he has built up an excellent personal relationship.

Drew chose an offtaker which uses Lightning PPA – the standardised contract developed by the Renewable Exchange team which allows for instantaneous PPA price execution online. It saves admin time and hassle for both the generators and the offtakers. “The process was very simple, smooth and easy,” commented Drew.

He went on:

“Renewable Exchange has become completely essential to me in operating our wind farm. It would be quite impossible to go to the market properly without the tools they supply, or indeed without their excellent, proactive, friendly staff to help people like me through the whole process. Hillhead Wind would be making significantly less money without this support!”

It’s truly fantastic to receive feedback like this from our customers! Renewable Exchange helps you effectively manage your PPAs and works for all types of generators: from small, independent assets to large-scale developments.

If your site is half-hourly metered, register to access the Renewable Exchange platform today and start receiving site-specific PPA price forecasts. You’ll also be able to launch a PPA tender out to the market any day of the week and make sure you capture the best PPA price achievable!

Thanks to Drew for sharing his story with us!

If you’d like for your asset to feature in one of our case studies, get in touch with our team at [email protected]

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