Following the construction of the 91st turbine, Whitelee Windfarm near Glasgow is now officially the largest operational onshore windfarm in Europe.
The ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) development can now produce 209.3 MW of electricity - enough clean green energy to power over 117,000 homes. This means that the site has overtaken parent company Iberdrola Renovables’ Maranchon windfarm in Guadalajara, Spain, which has a generating capacity of 208 MW.
The first phase of the windfarm - which will see 140 turbines generating 322 MW of electricity - is on-course to be fully completed by summer 2009. SPR has also submitted an application to extend the site by a further 36 turbines, and is expecting a decision from the Scottish Government early next year.
If approved, the new turbines will increase the output of electricity by up to a maximum of 130 megawatts - enough on its own to power up to 73,000 homes – taking the total output from the windfarm up to 452MW.
This latest milestone follows in a long-list of achievements for the massive engineering project, which has overcome a number of hurdles along the way.
Following concerns about interference with the radar at Glasgow Airport, SPR constructed a new radar tower at the disused power station in Kincardine. This means that Glasgow Airport is now served by two radar stations.
Covering an area of 55km, Whitelee is one of the largest construction sites in the world and has the same footprint as the City Centre of Glasgow.
The UK reached a milestone of 3GW of energy produced by wind power in October following the construction of the 81st turbine at Whitelee.
A visitor centre is currently being constructed to encourage people to visit the site. Tours of the windfarm site will also be available, and plans are being made to introduce eco-friendly buses, powered by electricity generated from the site.
Keith Anderson, Director of ScottishPower Renewables, said:
“We first identified the location at Whitelee as a potential development site in 1999, and to see it become the largest windfarm in Europe is an incredible achievement and down to the hard work of many hundreds of people and the support of the Scottish and UK Governments. A project on this scale is unprecedented and we have overcome many obstacles to get to where we are.
“The fact that the Iberdrola Group operates the two largest onshore windfarms on the continent clearly shows how important the development of renewable energy is to our company strategy.
“Large projects like Whitelee are essential if we are to meet challenging renewable energy targets. This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer listened to the industry and extended the Renewable Obligation (RO) by 10 years to 2037.
“This commitment will greatly strengthen investor confidence in UK renewable industry and will directly benefit other big projects such as Harestanes, Arecleoch and the forthcoming third round of off-shore windfarms.
“We remain on course to complete the work at Whitelee in summer 2009, and with the Visitor Centre due to open at the same time, we hope that as many people as possible will come and see the windfarm in operation. It is fitting that Scotland - a country that has some of the best renewable resources in the world - is home to most powerful windfarm in Europe. It is an achievement we can all be proud of.”
Media Information: Paul Ferguson 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924