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700 towering turbines

The region’s landscape could soon be home to more than 700 massive wind turbines.

And the biggest of the lot, so far, could stretch to 146.5 metres – some 476 feet from ground to blade tip.

That’s higher than the Blackpool Tower rooftop at 144 metres or 468 feet and more than four times the height of Kirkcudbright Parish Church.

The massive turbines are part of the Kilgallioch windfarm development straddling the Ayrshire border in the hills to the north east of Stranraer which has still to reach the planning application stage.

According to the council’s windfarm policy document, approved recently, it will house 132 turbines although the developer’s, ScottishPower Renewables, website puts the number at 99.

In all, according to the policy, 24 developments are in the pipeline equating to 365 turbines.

A further eight have received planning permission for a total of 154 turbines.

And nine, with 190 turbines including the 60 off shore at Robin Rigg in the Solway, are already operational.

The figures are only for turbines more than 50 metres in height.

Dozens of smaller micro developments, one or two turbines mainly on farms, are also on the cards.

The council website lists eight applications, validated since the start of the year, at various stages in the planning process.

More than half, eight, are in the Stewartry, six on farms at Dundrennan and Borgue.

In 2010 the region had the third highest number of renewable schemes approved, installed or submitted in Scotland and the second highest total generating capacity as far as larger schemes, on and off shore, are concerned, according to the policy.

The schemes are not confined to windfarms but include large scale hydro works around the River Dee and the biomass plant at Lockerbie.

Dumfries and Galloway leads the way in terms of micro generation with the highest number of installations in Scotland, although not the highest in terms of energy generated.

It has the highest number of installed solar panels along with the highest number of micro wind schemes and micro hydro installations.

A council spokesperson said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council has been supportive of the development of renewable energy and continues to be supportive of a diverse range of renewable energy sources.

“The existing pattern of windfarm development varies across Dumfries and Galloway and neighbouring authorities.

“Significantly larger windfarm developments are predominantly associated with the more extensive upland landscapes but large turbines have also extended into lowland areas, albeit in schemes with lower numbers of turbines.

“The extent and pattern of wind energy developments across the region reflects the availability of good wind resources.”

The report does not include the recently announced Loch Urr windfarm which could include as many as 50 more turbines as high at 126 metres.

The total height of Blackpool Tower with the flagpole included is 518 feet.