Britain’s Biggest Windfarm Planned

A 140 turbine windfarm will be built to generate electricity for 150,000 homes.

SCOTLAND, Glasgow, UK, 2001-08-14 [] A 140 turbine windfarm will be built to generate electricity for 150,000 homes. ScottishPower wants to build the windfarm on forest and moor land at Whitelee Forest, 10 miles south of Glasgow. The £150 million project will have capacity of 240 MW and is the latest phase of a plan to install 400 MW of wind power in Scotland over the next few years and to make ScottishPower the UK’s biggest windfarm operator. If it receives planning approval, the windfarm would meet nearly one-third of the government’s renewable energy targets for Scotland. It would cut annual emissions of CO2 by 500,000 tonnes and would help Britain meet its target of generating at least 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010. “New renewable generation is a valuable addition to our existing portfolio and will help provide the flexibility crucial for commercial success under the new trading arrangements,” says the company’s executive director Ken Vowles. During the two-year construction period, there would be 300 local jobs created, with £12 million in construction contracts for which local companies will be encouraged to tender. The Vestas turbine plant in Kintyre, Scotland, would benefit from manufacturing contracts. Whitelee was selected following an exhaustive process to identify the most promising windfarm sites in Scotland based on a range of environmental, social demographic and technical criteria. A full environmental assessment should be completed by autumn, after which local planning officials will scrutinize the project. If approved, the windfarm could begin operations by 2003. ScottishPower will improve the region by adding a visitor centre and increasing public access through the addition of footpaths and bicycle paths. A new area of moorland will be created, and remaining forest will be restructured to create a greater diversity of wildlife and habitats. The changes will allow timber operations to continue in parallel with the windfarm project. “We welcome windfarm proposals which provide energy close to the point of use, and we are also pleased that this proposal allows for full community consultation,” says Kevin Dunion, head of Friends of the Earth Scotland. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds also supports the project, saying they had advised ScottishPower on location issues to avoid damaging key wildlife sites.”
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