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UK's most powerful wind farm could power Paisley
The UK's most powerful wind farm, ScottishPower's Black Law, has been officially opened by Scottish Enterprise Minister Nicol Stephen, who praised the project saying:
"This remarkable project has helped regenerate this landscape, transforming an old open-cast coal-mine into a development providing clean, renewable energy. It symbolises our determination to turn Scotland into a powerhouse of renewable energy."
"We have set the target that, by the end of this decade, 18 per cent of electricity generated in Scotland should be from renewable sources rising to 40 per cent by 2020."
"Along with a range of wave and tidal projects now in development, Black Law will make a significant contribution to meeting these ambitious targets."
The 42 turbine project has a total capacity of 97 megawatts (MW), sufficient to meet the average electricity needs of 70,000 homes each year - or a town the size of Paisley - and is estimated to save around 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year.John Campbell, ScottishPower's Wholesale energy director, said:
" The environmental challenges facing our planet are enormous and we need to continue the rapid expansion of our wind energy programme if renewable targets are to be met and emissions of greenhouse gases reduced."
The £90 million Black Law is located near Forth in Lanarkshire and has been built on old opencast coalmine site which was completely restored to shallow wetlands during the construction programme. It employs seven permanent staff on site and created 200 jobs during construction. ScottishPower is expected to complete the second phase of the project this summer, which will see the installation of a further 12 turbines.
The project has received wide recognition for its contribution to environmental objectives, including praise from the RSPB, who said that the scheme was not only improving the landscape in a derelict opencast mining site, but also benefiting a range of wildlife in the area, with an extensive habitat management projects covering over 14 square kilometres.
Black Law follows a string of large wind energy projects launched in the UK in the last year. Other projects include the largest offshore wind farm in the world, the 90 MW Kentish Flats, as well as the 50.6 MW Rothes onshore wind farm in Moray and the 58.5 MW Cefn Croes in Ceredigion, which helped the UK break a 1GW benchmark of installed wind energy capacity. More large scale developments are expected in 2006, most notably the 120 MW Hadyard Hill in South Ayrshire and the 90 MW Barrow project off the coast of Cumbria.