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Go ahead for wind farm  

A wind farm capable of powering a third of the homes in Argyll and Bute has been approved.

Ministers have consented the 60 Megawatt, 20 turbine Carraig Gheal wind farm near Kilchrenan, which could power 32,000 homes.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said:

“Carraig Gheal wind farm will provide a significant amount of electricity used in Argyll and Bute’s homes and is another step towards making Scotland the green energy capital of Europe.

“We already have the comparative advantage of a vast array of potentially cheap, renewable energy sources in Scotland. In our drive to fulfil that potential, reduce emissions and achieve our ambitious climate change targets, we are investing in a range of technologies – in onshore and offshore wind, tidal, wave, biomass, and clean coal including carbon capture technology.”

In November 2004, Green Power (Carraig Gheal) Ltd applied for consent to construct and operate a wind farm comprising 24 turbines, with a maximum installed capacity of 72 MW. Following the consultation round, the applicant revised the development layout and reduced the number of turbines to 20 to address visual impacts and bird issues.

Conditions imposed by the consent include:

* prior to work starting, a construction method statement, an environmental management plan, a pollution prevention plan and a traffic management plan must be approved by Argyll and Bute Council;
* prior to work starting, a bird monitoring programme to protect local bird populations must be approved by the Council in consultation with SNH.

This decision was taken by John Swinney as the application lies in Energy Minister Jim Mather’s constituency.

The Scottish Government has set a target to produce 31 per cent of electricity demand from renewable sources by 2011, and 50 per cent by 2020.

Any proposal to construct, extend or operate an onshore wind farm in Scotland with a generation capacity in excess of 50 Megawatts (MW) requires the consent of Scottish Ministers under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.

The Scottish Government’s Energy Consents Unit is currently processing 37 renewable project applications – 28 wind farms, eight hydro projects and one wave project.

One Gigawatt of renewable capacity is currently under construction. Current renewable applications to Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act amount to 3.6 Gigawatts, which, in line with processes for environmental assessment, public consultation and where appropriate public local inquiry, are all at various stages of the consents process and still to be determined.

The Energy Consents Unit has also provided pre-application scoping opinions for a further 1.7 Gigawatts of potential renewable development.

Fourteen energy projects have now been determined by this Scottish Government. This includes consent for Scotland’s second largest wind farm in Dumfries and Galloway, and Scotland’s third largest wind farm in Perthshire.

In Scotland between 2005 and 2006:

* Electricity generated by renewable sources (apart from hydro natural flow) increased by 46 per cent
* In 2006, Scotland could have supplied 92.5 per cent of its electricity needs from non-nuclear sources
* As a result of unplanned outages, nuclear’s share of generation fell from 38 per cent to 26 per cent in Scotland

The Scottish Government

13 June 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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