Highlands & Islands

Turbines would power Lochaber Smelter and Dalzell plant

Fort William smelter
Image caption The Lochaber Smelter could be used for making car components in the future

The owners of the UK's last aluminium smelter plans to install up to 54 wind turbines at a site in the Highlands.

The wind farm proposed for Glenshero, near Laggan, would supply electricity for GFG Alliance's Lochaber Smelter near Fort William.

The scheme would also provide power for Motherwell's Dalzell steel mills run by Liberty, which with another company SIMEC forms GFG Alliance.

If the farm goes ahead, steel for the turbines would be rolled in Motherwell.

As well as the wind farm, GFG said it hopes to upgrade existing hydro power stations serving the smelter and look at the potential of building smaller scale hydro schemes in Lochaber.

It also proposes investing in housing in the area.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The smelter and a steel plant in Dalzell could be supplied with power from the new wind farm

Jay Hambro, of the GFG Alliance and chief executive of SIMEC Energy, the firm leading the wind farm project, described the turbines as a "unique project".

He said: "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.

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

Earlier this year, GFG announced plans to make alloy wheels for cars at the Lochaber Smelter.

Aluminium made at the smelter, which lies in the foothills of Ben Nevis, is currently taken elsewhere to be made into various products.

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