UK’s biggest onshore windfarm celebrates visitor milestone
Since it opened its doors to the public in 2009, Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre has welcomed more than 500,000 visitors of more than 15 nationalities from countries across the world including Sweden, Australia, Brazil and Thailand. This month also marks ten years since planning consent for the windfarm’s development was officially granted in 2006.
Whitelee is the UK's largest onshore windfarm, located on Eaglesham Moor just south of Glasgow. Its 215 turbines generate up to 539 megawatts of electricity, enough to meet the annual demands of almost 300,000 homes. The Visitor Centre is independently managed by Glasgow Science Centre on behalf of ScottishPower Renewables.
The people in the photo from L-R are as follows: (Back row) Andrew Dysart, Duty Manager at Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre, Ryan Horne (18), Kirsten Oswald, MP for East Renfrewshire, James Horne, Peter Daly, Site Supervisor at Whitelee Windfarm (Front row) Rosie Horne (5)
More than 130km of trails connect the turbines at Whitelee Windfarm. These are used by walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders, and are open for use by members of the public 365 days a year. Visitors to the windfarm can also book a bus tour through the Visitor Centre which lets them get up close to a turbine and learn about the windfarm, how it was developed and the ecology on site.
The Visitor Centre runs an extensive education programme, offering curriculum-based sessions for all ages from nursery level right through to further education or specialist interest groups. Since the centre opened, more than 31,000 school pupils have taken part in interactive environmental education workshops. The windfarm also has two full-time countryside rangers who run free events throughout the year, including activities such as wild overnight camping, bug hunts and a weekly buggy walk attended by local parents and babies.
As part of a weekend of celebrations to mark the milestone, visitor centre staff ran a competition to find the 500,000th customer and presented them with bikes for the whole family. The winner was Clare Horne who lives in Cambuslang with her husband James and five-year-old daughter Rosie and son, Ryan, who is studying art and design in Glasgow.
Clare said: “I was absolutely delighted to hear we marked the 500,000th visitors to Whitelee. Living so nearby, we’re regular visitors to the windfarm and my husband frequently brings his father and our five-year-old to enjoy the café and the interactive exhibits. We’re so excited to test out our new bikes and explore the tracks around the windfarm as a family. It really couldn’t have come at a better time for my son – just last weekend we were shopping for a new bike to help him get to his lectures!”
Ian Parkinson, Visitor Centre Manager at Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre, said: “It has been a pleasure to watch the Visitor Centre at Whitelee flourish over the past seven years. It’s very exciting to reach this milestone, and we’re delighted that the 500,000th visitor is someone like Clare who visits with her family on such a regular basis. We’re busy coming up with lots of exciting plans for the year ahead, and look forward to welcoming both new and returning visitors to Whitelee.”
Kirsten Oswald, MP for East Renfrewshire, added: “I am delighted for Clare and her family and I am sure they will all enjoy using their new bikes on the fantastic bike trails at Whitelee.
"It is a great achievement for Whitelee to have hosted 500,000 visitors. The visitor centre and outdoor trails are hugely popular and allow us all to get up close to this remarkable renewable energy generation on our doorstep."
For more information about Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre, please visit www.whiteleewindfarm.co.uk
For further information on the work of ScottishPower Renewables, please visit www.scottishpowerrenewables.com
For further information please contact: Georgia Lea or Laura Blyth at Stripe Communications on 0131 561 8628 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
ScottishPower Renewables is part of Iberdrola, the world’s largest wind energy developer, with an operating portfolio of over 14,000 megawatts (MW). ScottishPower Renewables is responsible for progressing Iberdrola’s onshore wind and marine energy projects in the UK and offshore windfarms throughout the world.
Securing our position at the forefront of the renewable energy industry, ScottishPower Renewables now has 30 operational windfarm sites producing over 1,600 MW, including West of Duddon Sands, our first offshore windfarm project. With a further 500 MW of onshore windfarm projects due to be constructed, we are set to maintain our position as the UK's leading wind developer.
With our 350 MW Wikinger Offshore Windfarm in the German Baltic Sea due to be constructed in 2017 and our East Anglia ONE windfarm, which has full planning consent and a contract that will allow us to develop up to 700 MW, we are set to position Iberdrola as the world's leading offshore wind developer.