Wind farm plans fuel fresh fears
Credit: Alison Campsie, The Herald, www.heraldscotland.com 11 October 2011 ~~
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The south of Scotland will soon be overwhelmed by wind farms after plans were lodged to extend one of the country’s biggest turbine sites, it has been claimed.
The move to extend the Clyde Wind Farm by 57 turbines, on a site that straddles both South Lanarkshire and the Borders and is surrounded by Biggar, Abington and Moffat, will see power generated from more than 200 turbines.
Permission was granted for 152 turbines at the site just more than three years ago. Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) went back to Holyrood yesterday with its enhanced proposals.
If approved, the SSE development will lie less than 10 miles from the Harestanes wind farm at the Forest of Ae, which developers want to extend to 90 turbines.
A further 11 turbines are under construction at Glenkeries, near Biggar, with a separate revised application by Wind Energy to build 24 turbines at Earlshaugh close to the geological landmark of the Devil’s Beef Tub, near Moffat, now lodged at the Scottish Government.
The spate of applications and proposals for extensions of existing sites has sparked claims the south of Scotland will be overrun with wind farms.
SSE, in its own environmental report into the impact of the Clyde extension, recognised the “large number” of other wind farm developments in the area, that will “result in the turbines becoming common landscape features”.
The company claimed in the report that the influence of the turbines on the character of the landscape would “limit the significance” of the extension.
However, Shadow Scotland Secretary David Mundell, MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweedale, has objected to the plans, claiming the area was being overwhelmed by the structures, given the large number of wind farms already in the area.
Mr Mundell said: “I’m opposed to the Clyde extension and I was opposed to the original development.
“We have a very significant amount of turbines in the south of Scotland and this extension is a step too far. I would have much preferred if the Scottish Government had a national planning policy for wind farms rather than them having to be dealt with on an ad hoc basis.
“All the wind farms are in a very small geography and I think the area is being overwhelmed.
“Nobody could argue that we haven’t taken our fair share of these developments.”
The Scottish Government will now decide on the SSE application, which was lodged under a Section 36 notice given the development will create more than 50MW of electricity.
If extended, Clyde Wind farm will be able to create a maximum of 521MW of electricity, enough to power 433,000 homes, if running at full capacity.
A recent report by the John Muir Trust claimed turbines produce power at less than 10% of their capacity for more than one-third of the time, and half the time at less than 20%
Clyde Wind Farm is the second-largest wind farm in Scotland after Whitelees to the south of Glasgow, which is due to be extended to 215 turbines.
David Gardner, SSE’s director of onshore renewables, said: “This application represents another important step in SSE’s plans to de-carbonise its generation portfolio. We are looking to build on the successful Clyde Project, which is due to be completed next summer.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said the Government’s National Planning Framework provided the long-term energy strategy for Scotland, and included policy on renewables and renewable infrastructure.
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