A 50% increase in the size of a wind farm planned for the Mearns approved by Scottish ministers has stunned local residents.
Ministers yesterday approved a 25 megawatt increase in capacity at Mid Hill at Fetteresso which will bring its total generating capacity to 75 megawatts.
The upgrade will make the wind farm capable of providing electricity for an additional 13,000 homes.
Developers Fred Olsen Renewables were given full approval by Aberdeenshire Council for 25 turbines at the site in 2005, although construction has not yet started.
The extension granted by ministers could add up to 15 more turbines.
Giving the green light for these to be added, energy minister Jim Mather said, “This is another step towards fulfilling Scotland’s green energy potential.
“Installed capacity of renewable energy has already overtaken that of nuclear power and Scotland has the potential to become the green energy capital of Europe.
“Whether it is onshore or offshore, wind, tidal, wave, biomass, clean coal or carbon capture technology, Scotland has a powerful comparative advantage in clean, green sources of energy and a Scottish government with the commitment to drive forward a diverse and balanced non-nuclear energy strategy.
“We can achieve secure, clean, low-carbon energy through harnessing Scotland’s vast potential—tackling climate change without adding to the burden of toxic radioactive waste that new nuclear power would bring.
“That’s why this government is building an energy strategy which will include the whole renewable mix from biomass to the energy we can generate from wave and tide.”
But residents in the nearby Mearns community of Glenbervie, anxious at the prospect of such a massive development on their doorstep, failed to be blown away by these arguments.
Altogether five Mearns wind farm plans are in the pipeline, which could see more than 80 turbines towering over the landscape made famous by author Lewis Grassic Gibbon.
“It’s the proliferation we are worried about,” said John Stevenson, a member of the Glenbervie and District Community Association and Mearns Community Council.
The original Mid Hill plan hadn’t been too worrying, he said. It was not on the ridge line but tucked in a fold behind the hill and a minimum of two-and-a-half miles away from local habitation.
The additional number of turbines would make it much more visible.
He said, “In the past year there have been a number of developments. All the potential wind farms in the Glenbervie area alone could see us surrounded by 81 giant turbines.”
It was only on Monday evening that representatives of Natural Power, the consultancy acting on behalf of the developer, had come to Glenbervie to brief local people on the intentions for expansion.
It was a shock that the decision had been announced so quickly and as they were still busy preparing a response from the community.
By Liz Fowler
26 January 2008
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