The announcement last week that the largest onshore wind farm in Europe is to be expanded is set to offer a massive boost to renewables in the UK. The announcement by the Scottish first minister Alex Salmond will see the construction of a further 36 wind turbines on the site. The permission to extend the East Renfrewshire site by the government will be seen as a step towards realizing some of the rhetoric spoken this week in regards to a ‘green new deal’ in Britain.
Gordon Brown’s announcement at the beginning of this year about the introduction of a green new deal, was a reference to the reforms made by the Roosevelt administration in the face of the 1930s depression which gripped the world. Many were encouraged by the language of the announcement, believing it to be a real indication of a move towards a green economy. Certainly, the extension of the Eaglesham Moor wind farm site will go some way to contributing to the low-carbon economy espoused by politicians in recent months.
In real terms, it is likely that the wind farm expansion will lead to the creation of around 300 jobs and will make the site the first over 300MW in Europe with a total capacity of 462MW, enough to power up to 250,000 homes. As the UK government seeks to meet its climate change targets of cutting carbon emissions 80% by 2050, the Whitelee wind farm will provide evidence that there is at least some tangible work being done to both establish a green economy and meet its targets.
Speaking about the expansion of the wind farm expansion, Alex Salmon commented,
“Whitelee in its current form is already flying the flag for onshore wind power in Europe. The planned extension, which I am delighted to announce today, will enable the wind farm to harness its comparative and competitive advantage in wind generated energy within Europe.
He went on to add, “It has the infrastructure, the expertise and the capacity to continue to develop in the future.”