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UK'S WINDIEST WINDFARM OPENED

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Energy minister Brian Wilson has opened the UK's most ...
Energy minister Brian Wilson has opened the UK's most

efficient windfarm in Bein an Tuirc, Argyll. Just 46 wind turbines

will deliver an output of 30 MW, enough to supply electricity to

25,000 homes. The development will prevent 92,000 tonnes of CO2

entering the atmosphere.

Scottish Power's£21m project is able to produce its power so

efficiently because it is situated on the Kintyre peninsula where

wind resources are amongst the best in Europe. The 40 metre high

towers sit on top of the highest hill in Kintyre 454 metres above sea

level. The wind travels unimpeded, gathering speed, until it hits the

47 metre diameter blades.

The wind farm is the first of what is hoped to be three windfarm

developments in Argyll by Scottish power. Two further developments,

one of which one has already gained consent, are expected to bring

local jobs, primarily in their construction. The local turbine

factory in Machrihanish is expected to benefit.

Mr Wilson said:

'This project shows that the technology is now available to produce

not only clean but also efficient electricity from wind power.

'It has long been recognised that the Kintyre peninsula offers

outstanding potential for the development of windpower. I am

delighted that a project of such significance has emerged helping

Scotland's vast renewables potential to be released.

'Wind power has a vital contribution to make towards our renewable

energy targets. The government will encourage developments both

onshore and offshore, and create the right conditions for both larger

scale power projects like this one and also smaller scale ones to

move ahead.

'Renewables is not just about energy and the environment but also

about manufacturing and jobs. There are very significant

opportunities for UK industry and if they respond well to this, it

will result in new generating equipment and services being supplied

by UK firms.'

As part of the windfarm project, conservation reserves will be

created on the surrounding land, to help build the threatened

population of one of black grouse. Also, the windfarm is situated at

the edge of a long established golden eagle territory and during

development there has been large scale habitat management aimed at

making the territory more sustainable in the future.

Mr Wilson added:

'I am delighted that this project will not only reduce the effects of

climate change but also protect our environment through a range of

conservation measures. Large companies involving themselves with a

particular site should use their resources at their disposal to help

the area in general.'

The government expects to create a£1bn market for renewable

energy by 2010. The main driver for this will be the Renewables

Obligation which will require electricity suppliers to source ten per

cent of their electricity from renewable sources. In addition a£260m support programme has been provided over the next three years

of which£64m is going towards wind energy.

Notes

1. The Wind farm, near Carradale, is Scottish Power's eleventh in

the UK and brings its total ownership of renewable energy generation

to around 150 MW. Scottish Power plant to add at least a further 785

MW of wind generation by 2010, which would meet more than half of

Scotland's renewable energy targets.

2. Beinn an Tuirc was commissioned in December 2001 and the

machines have a design life of 20 years. Generation starts in winds

of 4 meters/sdecond (8.8 mph), is optimal at 15 m/s (33 mph) and cuts

out at 25 m/s (55 mph)

3. The government announced its proposals for the new Renewables

Obligation on 5 October 2000. Copies of the

latest Renewables Obligation consultation document are available from

the DTI website at http://www.dti.gov.uk/renewable/consultations.htm.

Copies of the DTI Sustainable Development Strategy are available from

Simon Kelly on 020 7215 1975

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