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Plans submitted to extend Europe’s largest wind farm

UK energy firm submits plans for third extension of Whitelee wind farm in Scotland

Whitelee wind farm in Scotland

Plans have been submitted to extend Europe’s largest wind farm for the third time in Scotland. Firm ScottishPower Renewables has submitted a planning application to the Scottish Government for a turbine extension at Whitelee wind farm, near Glasgow to help meet Scotland’s renewable energy targets.

The extension will generate up to 12MW of renewable energy and increase the overall capacity of the onshore wind farm to 551MW – enough to power the annual needs of more than 300,000 homes.

Simon Christian, UK managing director of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “There has always been potential to extend Whitelee – it is well located near to major roads, it has access to a strong grid network and there is high demand for the electricity generated from the heavily populated nearby areas of Glasgow and East Kilbride and rural Ayrshire.

“Although our proposals for the third extension are relatively small, we think it is important to make the most of this excellent site and this development would make an important contribution towards Scotland’s renewable energy targets,” he said.

The initial 140 turbines at Whitelee wind farm were fully completed in May 2009, and two further extensions have since been approved for an additional 75 turbines. All 75 turbines have now been constructed at the site and commissioning is ongoing, with full operation expected in early autumn.

The additional turbines will be located to the west of the existing site in East Ayrshire. Once complete, the third extension would also add an additional 3km to the wind farm’s publically accessible tracks and paths and could be used for recreational purposes.

As a result of the wind farm, ScottishPower Renewables has contributed almost GBP 2m of community funding to the local area. If this latest extension is built, annual payments totalling approx GBP 1m will be made to the community to fund local projects for the next 25 years.

Christian said: “Whitelee has proved to be an excellent location for a windfarm development. The original windfarm continues to perform extremely well, and we have now nearly completed two extensions with minimal disruption in the local area.

“Whitelee is a fantastic demonstration of the economic benefits that renewable energy projects can deliver.”