ScottishPower Renewables received the UK's leading business accolade - a Queen's Award for Enterprise - on Her Majesty the Queen's 80th birthday.
The company was awarded the honour in the Sustainable Development category for its collaborative and responsible approach to windfarm development.
The award is the only one in the Sustainable Development category received in Scotland this year. Just seven out of the 145 Queen's Awards bestowed in 2006 were for Sustainable Development.
The award commends ScottishPower Renewables for adopting
a highly sustainable and inclusive approach to project development, going beyond standard practice and regulatory requirements and highlights two projects Beinn an Tuirc and Black Law windfarms.
The Queen's Award stated: "ScottishPower has demonstrated exemplary leadership and management in its delivery of sustainable business practice".
Keith Anderson, ScottishPower's Renewables and Major Projects Director, said: "Beinn an Tuirc and Black Law were cited as examples of the company's best practice approach to project development with respect to local community engagement, conservation initiatives and promotion of positive conservation management throughout windfarm sites. These projects clearly demonstrate how our approach results in projects which benefit not just the global environment, but the local environment as well."
Black Law in Central Scotland, at 124 MW is the largest onshore windfarm in the UK. The windfarm was built on the site of an abandoned opencast mine which was completely restored by ScottishPower during the windfarm construction programme. The former mine area is now a wet grassland, designed to attract wading birds into the area.
Black Law incorporates an extensive habitat enhancement area, covering over 14 square kilometres, the largest such project ever undertaken by any UK wind developer. ScottishPower worked closely with RSPB, Scottish Natural Heritage, local councils and the landowners to create suitable habitats to encourage valued species such as Long-eared Owls, Black Grouse, farmland birds and otters.
Simon Zisman, the central Scotland conservation officer for RSPB, said: "Black Law has taken a badly scarred site and vastly improved it. The terrible damage done by opencast mining has been reversed. As well as improving the landscape this will benefit a range of wildlife notably breeding waders and farmland birds. It would be fantastic to see the level of commitment and resources invested in this project by ScottishPower continued
throughout the rest of the industry."
The 46 turbine, 30 MW, Beinn an Tuirc Windfarm in Argyll was carefully designed to incorporate an extensive habitat enhancement plan on adjacent ground for the benefit of rare Golden Eagles in the area. During construction of the windfarm ScottishPower created habitat for prey species such as Red Grouse by clearing 450 hectares of conifer plantation and regenerating traditional heather moorland.
The plan has created new hunting ground for the eagles, assisting their survival and increasing their prospects of breeding success.