Massive new wind turbines could be on the horizon for the North-east.
The structures would literally be jumbo-sized – with blades as long as a 747 jet.
And today planners warned the 500ft-plus structures were a “serious” threat to the look of the landscape.
The new generation turbines are being developed in the US by General Electric.
An Aberdeenshire Council spokesman said: “The development of this new generation of larger wind turbines is a serious source of concern for us, especially in relation to landscape and visual issues.
“It is anticipated that we will have proposals in Aberdeenshire in the near future for turbines on that sort of scale.
“These are very large structures and there are identified issues about the potential for development adversely altering the landscape character.”
Many see turbines as a blot on the landscape, but their proliferation might be unavoidable if we are to hit renewable energy targets.
Bigger turbines are more efficient – and lightweight technology makes them more practical.
Lorraine Bolsinger, vice-president of GE’s ecoimagination division, said: “The economics of longer wind turbines are going to be pretty compelling.
“If you can put them in places where they’re not eyesores, it’ll be a win-win situation.”
But Aberdeenshire Council reckons it could be hard to hide a 500ft turbine.
The spokesman said: “Developments on this sort of scale have the potential, without exaggeration, to alter the character of significant parts, if not the whole of Aberdeenshire – we need to make sure this is done in an appropriate and regulated way to minimise adverse impact.
“We as a local authority need to view this type of development positively, but the industry has a responsibility too – they can’t keep on developing ever-bigger structures with little obvious indication that potential adverse impacts on the landscapes of project sites have been fully considered.”
Meanwhile, the march of the wind turbine in North-east has reached the city.
Plans have been submitted for a 100ft (34 metre) structure in Altens, Aberdeen.
That is double the size of one approved for use in the city at Cults Primary earlier this year.
City council planners are recommending backing the turbine proposed for Harness Road at Altens East Industrial Estate, even though it conflicts with some policies.
Planning boss Dr Margaret Bochel said: “In attempting to address carbon emissions, the proposal is a welcome response to sustainability concerns.
“It does not conflict with the development plan as a whole and a significant body of objections has not been received.”
The turbine would help power engineering company Richard Irving Group’s new headquarters.
It would lie a third of a mile away from the nearest house.
Between 60 and 85 turbines have also just been proposed on the Glenfiddich Estate near Dufftown.
27 October 2007
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