A windfarm that will be the most powerful in Argyll was approved by Scottish ministers yesterday.
The 60megawatt, 20-turbine Carraig Gheal windfarm, near Kilchrenan, to the east of Oban, will be capable of powering 32,000 homes.
Construction is expected to start in 2009, and the wind-farm should be operating by the end of 2010. The construction will involve £60m worth of contracts, and developers GreenPower say up to £20million of this could be spent within Argyll.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney said: “Carraig Gheal windfarm 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.”
In November 2004, Green Power (Carraig Gheal) Ltd applied for consent to construct and operate a windfarm comprising 24 turbines, with a maximum installed capacity of 72megawatts.
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.
GreenPower’s chief executive Robert Forrest said: “We are delighted with the Government’s decision to grant consent for the Carraig Gheal windfarm. As all the statutory consultees, including Argyll and Bute Council and Scottish Natural Heritage, supported the project, we believe the windfarm has been well-designed and is sensitive to the local environment.”
A bird monitoring programme to protect local bird populations must also 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.
Argyll councillors went against the advice of planning officials when they voted in favour of the windfarm. Planners said it would create “an industrial alien feature on the skyline”. The local community council was among eight objectors.
14 June 2008
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