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'Wind rush' set to end, says minister in call for shift in emphasis towards alternative types of renewable energy  

Scotland’s “wind rush” – the massive surge in applications to build windfarms – may be coming to an end, the environment minister signalled yesterday.

Ross Finnie, who attended the launch of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s report, said the emphasis should now be on other forms of renewable energy such as tidal, wave and biomass.

According to a report earlier this year by environmental groups, windfarms made up nearly 90 per cent of renewable energy schemes planned or under construction. If this rate of development were to continue, nearly 600 square kilometres – an area bigger than North Lanarkshire – would be covered by windfarms in order to meet the 40 per cent renewable energy target for electricity by 2020.

However, Mr Finnie said the Executive was keen to ensure a proper mix of renewable energy sources. Currently there is only a single marine energy testing station in Orkney, with no tidal or wave schemes making energy.

He said: “There are probably enough windfarms in development and in the pipeline at the moment [to meet its desirable share of the 40 per cent target].”

Even if a number of current windfarm proposals are rejected, its target share would probably still be met, he said.

“The rush [to build windfarms] came about because of the state of the technology. It’s a much more mature technology [than wave or tidal] and in relative terms the cost of wind installations has come down very dramatically indeed.”

Officials stressed this did not mean that no new windfarms would be considered, particularly as the Executive plans to try to exceed the 40 per cent renewable energy target.


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