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UK Wind Power

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Work on £300m wind farm begins


Mark Tran

Tuesday October 10, 2006

Guardian Unlimited



Construction on Europe's biggest onshore wind farm began yesterday as Britain stepped up efforts to obtain more energy from renewable sources.

The £300m Scottish Power site at Whitelee, south of Glasgow, will have 140 turbines and eventuaklly provide enough electricity to power 200,000 homes.


Alistair Darling, the secretary of state for trade and industry, said the wind farm - which will come on stream in three years - would make a big contribution to securing the UK's energy supplies and tackling climate change.


"Within three years, 140 turbines will rise above Eaglesham Moor, harnessing enough wind energy to power 200,000 homes - that's most of Glasgow," Mr Darling said.

Sixteen percent of Scotland's electricity already comes from renewable sources, compared to 4% for the UK as a whole, and Whitelee will save a further 250,000 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide emissions every year.


The government is stepping up its efforts on wind energy because other renewable sources of energy are not far enough developed.


Britain's 130 wind farms provide electricity for 1m homes, and 217 turbines are being built to provide 431 megawatts of electricity. By contrast, an average nuclear power station generates between 500 and 600 megawatts.


The government has also begun a consultation process seeking views from the industry and investors on how to reach its aim of getting 20% of the UK's electricity from renewables by 2020. The target was set out in its energy review, published in July.


"There is no doubt that reaching 20% will be tough," Mr Darling said. "It means we must get more power from offshore wind farms and other emerging technologies like biomass and wave and tidal, while maximising the contribution from those technologies that are already being deployed."


Scottish Power is the largest developer and owner of onshore wind power in the UK, and its chief executive, Philip Bowman, said it had to "keep up the momentum".


"Of course, Whitelee is not the end of the story," Mr Bowman said. "If we are to deliver more clean energy to people's homes, we have really got to keep up the momentum on the other big onshore wind farms in Scotland which are currently in planning".


As well as expanding the large-scale renewables sector, the government is also looking to increase the amount of smaller scale localised electricity production.






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