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ScottishPower Renewables Offers Radar Solution to Help Unblock Major Wind Power Projects in Central Scotland

12/07/2012

ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) has reached agreements with four windfarm developers in central Scotland, covering five windfarms, to provide access to data from SPR’s custom-built radar station in Kincardine. The agreements could help to ‘unblock’ up to 110MW of renewable energy that is currently restricted to potential radar concerns.

ScottishPower Renewables has been proactively engaging with a host of windfarm developers for a number of years to help find solutions to potential radar issues, and the recent agreements are a first for the renewable energy industry in Scotland. The company is also talking with many more developers who are seeking to build projects and hope to reach further agreements in the near future.

The company built the supplementary primary radar station in 2006 on the site of the disused power station in Kincardine in order to overcome the concerns of Glasgow Airport and National Air Traffic Services (NATS) when it was seeking planning permission to build Whitelee windfarm. Whitelee fully opened in 2009 and is now the largest onshore windfarm in Europe.

Data from the Kincardine radar station is being used to supplement the existing radar coverage at Glasgow and Edinburgh airports and NATS En Route. When all of the radar data is ‘fused’ over the relevant windfarm, it gives air traffic controllers a picture of that airspace free from any potential turbine interference.

Simon Christian, UK Managing Director, ScottishPower Renewables said: “Radar issues have long been a major stumbling block for windfarm developers. During the planning process for Whitelee, the project was held up for a number of years until the radar solution was found.

“As a company we are committed to promoting the wider benefits of renewable energy and we are pleased that these agreements have been reached. By offering radar solutions to other developers we will help to unblock a significant amount of renewable energy, benefiting the wider industry and helping further towards achieving carbon reduction targets. We hope that many more agreements will follow.

“These agreements are a first for the industry in Scotland and it shows that developers can work well together in order to find solutions to common problems.”

Media information: Paul Ferguson: 0141 614 4535 / 07702 665 924

Notes to Editors:

  • The agreements reached so far include multi-national renewable energy companies and a single turbine developer. They cover:
    • Harelaw, Gamesa
    • Climpy, Muirhall Energy
    • Two projects with West Coast Energy, that includes Blantyre Muir Wind Farm, near East Kilbride
    • Middleton (Agreement originally reached with RWE npower renewables, project since purchased by ScottishPower Renewables) 
  • ScottishPower Renewables is also part of a cross-industry aviation group looking at potential solutions to radar issues in Scotland. The Scottish Government launched the steering group in 2009, and it consists of windfarm developers, the operators of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick airports and National Air Traffic Services (NATS)  
  • It is believed that in Scotland as a whole, as much as 4GW of renewable energy potential could be hampered by radar concerns.