Wind Power

Largest On-Shore UK Wind Farm Approved

ScottishPower has been granted planning permission by regional regulators, the Scottish Executive, for a 143 MW, 62 turbine wind farm around 20 miles west of Edinburgh. The Black Law project — the largest onshore wind farm in the UK approved to date — will start generating power in spring 2005.

Edinburgh, Scotland – February 17, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The €130 million (US$247 million) wind farm, on a disused open-cast mine near the village of Forth in South Lanarkshire, will produce enough clean energy to power 80,000 homes. It will also reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by a massive 280,000 tons each year. Local companies will be invited to tender for up to €20 million (US$38 million) in contracts associated with the project that developers anticipate will create around 120 construction jobs. Construction will start shortly on around 97 MW of the wind farm, the rest proceeding when outstanding radar planning conditions are agreed with Edinburgh Airport. Stone for the roads and foundations will be taken from the opencast coal mine in order to minimize the impact locally and reduce construction traffic. “Black Law is the largest onshore windfarm consent in the UK and is a very significant milestone in our renewable energy program,” said Charles Berry ScottishPower Executive Director UK. “We will continue to add to our portfolio over the coming year and help the Scottish Executive and Government to meet important targets to reduce harmful greenhouse gases.” ScottishPower, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and Scottish Natural Heritage have developed a habitat management plan integrating nature conservation, renewable energy, and other land uses on the derelict site. Restoration of the landscape is an integrated part of the plan. ScottishPower aims to enhance the biodiversity in the area through felling areas of conifer plantation and restoring these to grassland and increasingly rare blanket bog. The open-cast area will be restored to create shallow wetlands, and other suitable habitats to encourage valued species such as farmland birds, badgers, bats, long-eared owls and black grouse. “Scotland’s communities need rapid, balanced and sensitive development of renewable energy sources to cut climate-changing emissions, and we welcome the contribution this scheme will make,” said Friends of the Earth’s Chief Executive, Duncan McLaren. “The Black Law scheme also shows how it is possible to restore former opencast sites without inflicting further environmental injustice through landfilling with waste, as has been the case elsewhere.”