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Wind turbines throw rural areas into chaos  

Credit:  By Euan Duguid, The Sunday Post, 11 September 2011 ~~

People living around Europe’s largest wind farm, Whitelee near Glasgow, have been left baffled as the race for green energy seemingly ran out of puff.

Residents of Eaglesham, near the 140 turbine site, say they haven’t seen a blade turning in weeks – despite some healthy gusts.

One local told The Sunday Post, “We’re paying quite significant sums of money through our electricity bills for the provision of wind farms.

“This one hasn’t turned a hand in weeks. I object to money being spent and wasted.”

Last night ScottishPower renewables said work is under way to upgrade the electrical grid connection for a 75-turbine extension to their sprawling site.

For “a few weeks” this means the current turbines must be switched off.

Kenny Peberdy, ScottishPower renewables Operations Director, said, “To upgrade the electrical grid connection we have to first de-energise the current system then install the new equipment to connect, and ultimately export, 217MW of new power to the national grid.”

ScottishPower said, “These essential works have been planned to take place when wind speeds are traditionally at their lowest.”

Meanwhile, in rural Perthshire, locals were left reeling after a huge crane became stuck in a ditch on its way to the controversial Griffin wind farm construction.

Last month, we revealed how residents near Scottish and Southern Energy’s 68 turbine scheme were living in fear for their lives because of the heavily laden convoys.

Many told us how the narrow and twisting A822 wasn’t suitable for the size and volume of hGVs delivering parts to, and removing timber from, the site at Amurlee near Dunkeld.

Residents said it was only a matter of time before a serious accident occurred.

Last Saturday morning the crane slid off the road as a verge gave way under its weight. It was finally recovered in the early hours of Sunday.

With the A822 set to be closed for three weeks for scheduled maintenance next month – including repairs to the collapsed verge – beleaguered communities say their lives will be thrown into further chaos.

Nan Johnston, chair of Dunkeld and Birnam community council, explained, “They were always going to close the road but they’re going to fix this collapse too.

“For anyone living beyond where the road’s closed, it will be a 40-mile round trip to Dunkeld, as opposed to seven miles.”

Last night, SSE said they take road safety “extremely seriously” and “undertook a number of road improvements to enable the delivery of the wind turbine components.”

In a further development, the UK’S leading wild land conservation charity, the John Muir trust has submitted an objection to Perth and Kinross council in response to plans by SSE to increase the height of turbines at another Perthshire development.

SSE already has consent to build Calliacher, a 14-turbine development, on open moorland near Aberfeldy.

Helen McDade, head of policy for the John Muir Trust said, “There is a major risk that Highland Perthshire will become known not for its beautiful natural landscapes but as an industrialised area people rush through to get further north in search of wild places.

“Developers are using the planning process as a game, where they get as much as they can in the first round, then come back and back again.”

Source:  By Euan Duguid, The Sunday Post, 11 September 2011

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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