Windfarm spreads its wings in Argyll

The windiest, and most efficient windfarm in the UK was launched in Bein an Tuirc, Argyll. 46 wind turbines will generate 30 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 25,000 homes.

The windfarm is situated upon a hill in the Kintyre region, an area noted for its high wind velocity.

The project, spearheaded by Scottish Power, will bring its total of renewable energy ownership up to a total of 150 Megawatts.

This renewable form of energy is expected to displace more than 92,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year by replacing coal-fired generation.

Although many environmental groups support the use of windfarms, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds cites the disruption of habitat for birds of prey as a cause of concern in regards to windfarms.

Roger Broad, a local conservationist with the RSPB, says that upland bird species are his most immediate cause of concern. He, along with the RSPB, is concerned with “making sure windfarms are sited in the right locations”. These locations, Broad says, should be away from populations of endangered local species.

Scottish Power is working to assuage the RSPB’s concerns for Argyll’s bird population by implicating the following measures:

  • moving the hunting grounds of such endangered birds of prey as the golden eagle, so they will not fly near the turbines;
  • clearing away 450 hectares of conifer plantation and replacing it with natural heather moorland, a breeding ground for red and black grouse.

There is some resistance to the building of windfarms. Opposition groups in Argyll initially protested the construction of wind turbines in their community, stating that they would disturb the natural beauty of the landscape. They also cited fears of noise pollution from the rotating turbine blades.

However, the majority of residents have not reported any problems with the windfarms.

Refer to the Scottish Executive’s survey of local residents for information about windfarm concerns.

Story by Maya Garcia

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