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Construction At Europe's Largest On-Shore Windfarm Set To Finish Ahead Of Schedule

27/04/2009

  • 126 turbines have now been completed at Whitelee Windfarm
  • Construction is on-course to be completed next month, ahead of original predictions

ScottishPower Renewables has announced that turbine construction at Whitelee Windfarm near Glasgow, Europe’s largest on-shore wind project, is set to be completed ahead of schedule in the next few weeks.

The company, who are the largest generator and developer of wind energy in the UK, has now constructed 126 turbines and erected the base units of the final 14. All 140 turbines are now scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks, producing up to 322MW of electricity - enough to power over 180,000 homes.

Once all turbine construction is completed the company plans to carry out remedial work on the 90km road network that they have constructed as part of the project, complete the necessary site reinstatement works and finish the £2m state-of-the-art visitor centre. The site will then be opened to the public later in the summer, making it one of Scotland’s largest eco-tourist attractions.

Keith Anderson, Director of ScottishPower Renewables, said: “We are delighted that construction is ahead of schedule, and believe this is down to the experience we have gained from building previous large-scale wind projects such as Black Law, especially understanding how to effectively manage the programme of work and key project relationships.

“Our project management team and our contractors, Morrison Balfour Kilpatrick, have developed techniques and a level of expertise that allows us to work effectively in difficult terrain and under testing conditions, and this understanding has helped to keep the project firmly on track.

“To complete Europe’s largest on-shore windfarm ahead of schedule is a major achievement. A windfarm on this scale has never been attempted before, and every one of the 500 people who have worked on the project deserves huge credit. First electricity generation from the site was achieved in January 2008 and since then we have been feeding a steadily increasing amount of green energy into the electricity grid. This substantial amount of green energy will be beneficial to the local area and will make a significant contribution towards national renewable energy targets.”

The site at Whitelee was first identified by ScottishPower Renewables a decade ago, and planning consent was awarded in 2006. In order to achieve planning permission, the company constructed a new radar station for Glasgow Airport following concerns about potential interference. During this period, the company also outlined its habitat management plan for the site. In total the site has 25km² of actively managed habitat to promote blanket bog and moorland regeneration, improving conditions for Black Grouse, Red Grouse, wading birds and upland wildlife.

When completed later this summer the visitor centre will be the first of its kind in the UK. It will include an exhibition area explaining the construction of the windfarm and a unique renewable energy education centre which will be operated by specially trained staff. As part of the company’s plans to make the site fully accessible, tours of the windfarm will also be available for visitors, and plans are being made to introduce eco-friendly buses powered by electricity generated from the site.

Notes to Editors:

  • Iberdrola Renovables, including ScottishPower Renewables, is the world leader in developing wind power.
  • ScottishPower Renewables is the largest generator and developer of wind energy in the UK.
  • Covering an area of 55km, Whitelee is one of the largest construction sites in the world.
  • 970 kilometres of cables have been laid at the site to connect the turbines.
  • Each turbine is 110 metres high.
  • 2.1 million cubic metres of rock have been taken from borrow pits on the site and used in roads and construction.
  • A planning application has been submitted to extend the windfarm by a further 36 turbines, which would take the overall capacity to 452MW. This is currently being considered by the Scottish Government.

Media Information: Paul Ferguson 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924

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