Europe’s largest windfarm opens

Viking Energy lodging its planning application on Wednesday was somewhat overshadowed by the opening the same day of Europe’s largest onshore wind farm in the Central Belt of Scotland.

Scottish Power’s 140-turbine windfarm at Whitelee, 10 miles from Glasgow, has cost £300 million and employed over 500 people in its construction.

First Minister Alex Salmond announced that permission had now been granted to extend the windfarm from 322 MegaWatt to 452 MW capacity. The aim within a few years is to expand to 600 MW capacity, bigger than Viking’s 540MW proposal.

Mr Salmond said the Scottish government had now approved 22 renewable energy projects since it came to power in May 2007 and is currently considering 23 windfarms and five hydro projects.

Scotland now has almost six gigaWatts of renewables capacity installed, consented or under construction.

Meanwhile, the Western Isles Council has granted planning permission for the first community wind turbine in Lewis. Income from the Horshader Community Development’s 900 kiloWatt turbine on the west side of the island will go towards helping fuel poverty in the area, providing affordable housing and housing plots, especially for young families, and laying on essential transport.


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