Scotland to build Europe’s biggest wind farm

Scottish authorities gave the go-ahead on Thursday for Europe's most powerful wind farm to date, which will produce enough green electricity to power most homes in nearby Glasgow.

The Whitelee wind farm’s 140 turbines will be erected on an area of 55km2 now covered by moorland and commercial forest, and will produce 322 MW at full capacity.

The wind farm will play an important role in meeting Scotland’s goal of sourcing 18% of its power from renewables by 2010, accounting for 11% of that target when fully operational.

Scottish Power, the company behind the project, plans to start construction this summer and have the first turbines generating electricity by 2008. The whole farm should be completed by 2009.

ScottishPower’s Chief Executive, Philip Bowman, said the project has “national importance.”

“We have always maintained that large windfarms, in appropriate locations, are vital to meeting the UK’s ambitious renewable energy targets,” he said.

Getting planning permission for the £300m wind farm was not obstacle-free, Scottish Power said. Hurdles included the potential for turbines to interfere with radar from nearby Glasgow airport, but were resolved with plans for a new radar mast.

The company also cooperated with several local councils on the project. Final plans include a visitor centre, footpaths and cycling tracks on the site.

Maf Smith, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said: “This just goes to show how when the determination is there, we can develop large-scale wind projects close to centres of population.”

The UK currently has 125 operational wind farms generating around 1% of the UK’s energy supply.

More information about UK wind farms can be found at the BWEA wind energy database.

Goska Romanowicz

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie