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Europe’s biggest onshore wind farm plugs into the national grid  

LANDSCAPE TRANSFORMED: The turbines at Eaglesham Moor will dominate 15 miles of the skyline south of Glasgow. Whitelee wind farm is due to be completed by summer 2009.

Europe’s largest onshore wind farm goes on stream from today, with the first 10 turbines of the planned 140 now producing enough electricity to power 13,000 homes.

After a five-year delay in the planning system and 18 months of site preparation, the Whitelee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor to the south of Glasgow is finally feeding the national grid.

By the end of the month, a further 10 turbines currently going through a two-week test drive will have been switched on, with the entire project due for completion by the summer of next year.

At that stage Whitelee, with an overall output of over 320 megawatts, will be generating enough power for over 180,000 homes.

According to ScottishPower, the project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 650,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent to the output of 240,000 cars.

Although the debate over the environmental benefits and impact of wind farms on Scotland’s landscape shows little sign of abating, with campaign groups and some politicians remaining fundamentally opposed to them, the feat of engineering involved in a construction site the energy giant claims is the size of the city of Glasgow is impressive.

More than 90km of roads have been laid and bridges constructed to allow the transportation of the 200ft turbines, which are over 300ft to the tip of the blade, across boggy moorland.

Once up, they will dominate 15 miles of skyline over four local authority areas, visible to around 1.5 million people daily.


April 07 2008

The Herald


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