ScottishPower Renewables today unveiled plans for a multi-million pound state-of-the-art Visitor and Learning Centre at Whitelee Windfarm which, when completed, will be Europe’s largest onshore windfarm, generating an output of 322 MW from 140 turbines – enough clean green energy for the equivalent of over 180,000 homes.
Opening in the summer of 2009, it will be the first onshore windfarm visitor centre in the UK, and will include an unique education hub where both children and adults can find out more about the operation of windfarms and renewable energy generation, all under the tutorship of specially trained staff.
This announcement follows the results of the recent Scottish Government study, Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism, which highlighted that three quarters of tourists surveyed believed that windfarms had a positive or neutral effect on the landscape.*
Simon Christian, Project Director at ScottishPower Renewables said: “As Europe's largest onshore wind farm, Whitelee represents a great step forward for the UK in tackling climate change, and is crucial to meeting the Government's targets for green energy. The project is a huge engineering achievement and will be an impressive sight to behold when completed.
“As well as offering spectacular views of the site, the visitor centre will be an educational facility, where people young and old can learn about renewable energy and the processes involved in harnessing energy from wind. We hope that the centre will be a popular attraction for both tourists and people from the surrounding areas who want to learn more about the way that windfarms operate.”
Windfarms are already a popular attraction, with ScottishPower Renewables receiving an ever-increasing stream of interest from people wishing to visit existing sites. The windfarm at Black Law, currently the largest in the UK, attracted over 4,500 visitors to an open-day hosted by ScottishPower in the summer of 2006. Due to this level interest, plans are currently being finalised to host a similar event at Black Law near Shotts, in June of this year.
The centre will include an exhibition space detailing the construction of Whitelee Windfarm while offering information about the history of the site, renewable energy, climate change and other environmental issues.
Tours of the windfarm site will also be available, and may take place in an eco-friendly bus, powered by electricity generated from the site.
The centre will also boast retail and catering facilities and will feature external accessed showers for users of the site, including cyclists and runners.
Construction at Whitelee Windfarm started in October 2006. At present around 20 turbines have been built on the site and it will be fully operation 2009.
* Source: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/03/07113554/0
Media Information: Simon McMillan 0141 566 4875 / 07753 622 257