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Audio Transcript: 7 WHITELEE SPR FUTURE

The text below is the transcript from the '7 WHITELEE SPR FUTURE' video. An audio-described version of the video is also available.


LAURA: Hi, I'm Laura Young, also known as Less Waste Laura. And for the past couple of years, I've been trying to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle and advocate for climate justice. I've been on a trip around the amazing Whitelee Wind Farm today and met some inspirational members of staff who are keeping this place at peak performance and making sure that they are being a good neighbour. I still have a few more questions I would love answers for. So I'm here to find out more about the future of energy and the net zero debate. With COP 26 in Glasgow, I'm so pleased that I have the chance to speak with Lindsay McQuade, ScottishPower Renewables CEO.

Hi, Lindsay, how you doin?

LYNDSAY: Good Laura, how was your day.

LAURA: Oh, it's been great. We've got amazing weather. Do you want to go for a chat?

LYNDSAY: Absolutely. Lead the way. So, Laura, how's your day be?

LAURA: It has been such a good day. I've had great weather and I've met some amazing people. I'm wondering what is the future of ScottishPower Renewables?

LYNDSAY: So the future? Well, the future is trying to do more of this, and building on what we've learned over the last 20 years. We've got 2 gigawatts or over 2 gigawatts of operational plant right now. Close to two million houses. And what I want to do is double that in the next five years. And I will double that by adding other technologies as well.

LAURA: That's probably one of the biggest things I've learned today. I used to think Whitelee was a wind farm and if you go for a cycle. But actually, there's so many other things happening here. How important is onshore wind in places like Whitelee for us to be able to reach net zero?

LYNDSAY: So, Whitelee, as a site, is something that we've obviously celebrated over 12 years of life with Whitelee’s a fantastic site, and what we want to do is build more onshore wind to help to contribute towards that Net Zero target. It's brilliant that people are talking about targets and understanding the role that renewable energy is going to play in it. So we need more onshore wind, more offshore wind, more solar, more storage, because that combination of renewable energy with storage capacity will help power our new, cleaner, greener and lives.

LAURA: What is the lifespan of somewhere like Whitelee? What happens in 20, 30 or 40 years time?

LYNDSAY: So Whitelee’s a power station, and what we knew about the technology when this site was developed, gave a life expectancy of those assets. What we want to do is ensure that we continue to capture green energy at this site, by putting re-powered technology onto this site. So what we're going to do at some stage in the future, when the time is right, is replace these aged turbines with more modern technology, and that should mean that we capture even more green energy to power the life styles that we’ll all have.

LAURA: Can you do anything with an old turbine or an old blade?

LYNDSAY: So there's lots of innovation around all of that right now. I mean, there are a lot of turbines across the UK right now as well. And particular, we're looking at blade recycling. We do repurpose the key components and say the nacelle as well. But a lot of the bits of the turbine, actually have longer lives. So there's more consumable parts, more permanent parts to that as well. And lots of work and innovation funding is going into making sure that we can reuse, reduce and recycle where possible and also ensure that we're upping the technology as well at the same time.

LAURA: T hat's so good to hear. And it's great to know that as an individual, I can make my lifestyle choices and you can help me with that and powering my buying power in my home. And it's just fantastic. But with COP 26 coming to Glasgow in November, what is it you hope ScottishPower will achieve?

LYNDSAY: So ScottishPower has taken on being our principal partner for COP, and that's something we're really, really proud about. And I think that in ScottishPower, we've been familiar enough with what the energy transition’s mean for quite some time now. But it's now an opportunity for us to share that story, share the journey that we've been on, and help others enable others along that journey as well. So COP 26 is about bringing those voices that mind set that collaboration together so that everybody has an understanding of what needs to be done, how others can be brought along it it to make sure that is an inclusive transition that's going to be all important as well, but also to see that global agreement coming through as well, because this matters to all of us. And it it's important that we have a shared vision, shared understanding of the task ahead and also how we're going to address it. And that's the part of the ScottishPower is going to play as well.

LAURA: And what do you want to see?

LYNDSAY: So for me, it's really the next decade as a decade of difference. We can't wait until 2045 or 2050 for an Net Zero action has to start happening now. So for me, COP 26 and the legacy ScottishPower is going to be making the point of it, what we're doing today, what we've already been doing for the last 20 odd years, and what I want to do in the next 5 years, I want to double the amount of capacity that we've got supporting homes and businesses across the country. And then I also want to grow the pipeline, launch more technologies, make that better future, quicker and greener for everyone, so that we all have a cleaner life, and we get to Net Zero as quickly as possible.

LAURA: I'm so glad you're on it, and I'm so glad that we're both from Glasgow and this big thing is coming up, and it's so exciting. Just thank you so much for explaining that to me and showing me around this wonderful place that is  Whitelee.

LYNDSAY: Thanks for taking your time out as well. It's been great to meet you, Laura. Thank you.

LAURA: Thanks so much. We head off shore?

I've honestly had such a good day here at Whitelee. I've learned so much from so many amazing different people. I've seen across the whole site from the visitor centre to the viewpoint, the control centre. It's been fantastic to learn about how that is so much more than just a place with some wind turbines. I've been learning about the big vision, especially with COP 26 coming to Glasgow, hearing about the Net Zero debate and hearing about how the community close by where I live is really at the heart of this wind farm. I'm excited for the future of our energy transition and for everyone to be taken along with it. Now it's time for me to go home, recharge my battery, and my bikes.


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