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Minister: wind 'vital' for energy provision  

Wind farms will play a “vital role” in the future of Scotland’s energy provision, environment minister Mike Russell has said.

Mr Russell made the comments at the official opening of the Braes of Doune wind farm, near Stirling. The site is the second to be set up by renewable energy company Airtricity north of the border, and consists of 36 turbines producing enough electricity to power more than 45,000 homes.

Construction started on the farm in July 2005. It began operating several months ago, and has received Mr Russell’s official blessing. Airtricity said the new installation will offset around 173,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – the equivalent of taking 43,000 cars off the road.

The environment minister said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the development of a diverse range of technologies. Wind energy, in the right places, will play a vital role in this process, and can provide the foundation upon which emerging technologies like wave, tidal and biomass power must build.”

He went on: “All of us need to understand what is positive and what is negative about wind power.

“By talking to those who are involved in schemes and seeing at first hand places where there has been controversy – most recently here in terms of bird kills – I hope to get more information to guide my own work in terms of the environmental impact of such schemes.”

The wind farm is capable of producing 72 megawatts of electricity, which brings the UK’s wind power capacity to two gigawatts, or 2,000 megawatts.

Eddie O’Connor, group chief executive of Airtricity, said: “The UK and Scottish Government has been supportive of wind energy and reaching this milestone of two gigawatts of wind power is testament to that commitment.

“Scotland has huge wind resources. Exploiting wind resources means more use is made of free fuel, demand and price for fossil fuels is reduced, the riskiness of the system is reduced and no carbon fines have to be paid for electricity generation.”

The Braes of Doune wind farm is operated under a joint venture agreement with energy company Centrica, which owns Scottish Gas.

Midlothian Advertiser

13 November 2007

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