Nine year old Allanton Primary School pupil Jenna Ballie was the star of the show at the official opening of Black Law Windfarm extension near Shotts this week.
Jenna’s colourful picture of a windfarm was selected by project developer ScottishPower Renewables as the winning design to feature on a special bespoke mug to celebrate the official opening. As well as seeing her artwork on display, Jenna also won a goody bag containing a new iPad.
The 34 turbine extension to Black Law Windfarm was officially opened by ScottishPower Renewables following an 18 months construction programme.
The original site was the largest in the UK when it opened in 2005, with a capacity of 124 megawatts (MW) from its 54 turbines. The 34 new turbines have a capacity of 63.4 MW
Almost 2,000 construction workers and technical support staff have been inducted on the windfarm, with a peak monthly workforce of over 150 personnel. The site will now also contribute nearly £5 million in total to West Lothian Council and North Lanarkshire Council for the benefit of local community projects over the next 25 years.
Black Law Extension is part of a two-year £650 million investment plan by ScottishPower Renewables to build 8 new onshore windfarms in Scotland, which will deliver nearly 500 MW of new renewable electricity for the national grid.
Kenny Peberdy, Onshore Director for ScottishPower Renewables, said: “Black Law was an important milestone for wind power in the UK when it was opened in 2005 – proving that large-scale projects could be successfully developed and delivered. It is built on the site of a former opencast coal mine, and extensive ecology work over the years has seen local habitats vastly improved.
"The extension to Black Law is exactly the kind of onshore wind project that should continue to have a future in the UK’s energy mix. The site is well located with good wind speeds and access to the grid, making it an ideal project to develop. Beyond our current £650 million investment programme, we plan to continue scoping and developing new sites, as we believe that onshore wind remains a critical component of any future energy mix that seeks to reduce both emissions and costs for consumers.”
A core path of 7km running through the heart of the site has been maintained and upgraded to ensure that public access to the area will not be compromised. Black Law is a popular site for cyclists, horse riders and dog walkers, with hundreds of people regularly accessing the site for recreational purposes.
A habitat management plan has also been developed for the extension project which will run for the life of the windfarm to ensure conservation and maintenance of the bio-diversity within the Black Law area.