Posts tagged with: Scotland

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.”

Germany’s Enercon will supply turbines to two Scottish wind farms under development by RWE npower renewables, a subsidiary of Germany energy firm RWE.

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The Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond has warned against investing heavily in nuclear energy explaining that it would divert much needed funds away from clean, renewable sources of energy. The Scottish Minister has asserted the need for a coherent investment program in green energy sources, both as a means of slowing climate change and helping the government to meet its green target, which in Scotland is producing 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Replying to questions in the Scottish Parliament, Alex Salmond stated,

“Anything you invest – and it will be billions – in nuclear power is billions taken away from clean technology and in renewable technology. We have great prospects in our renewables sector – I think that is a huge priority.”

Although there is a general acceptance that renewable sources will be essential for future energy production, nuclear is often considered to be a very real and viable alternative to fossil fuel production. Lord Adair, Chairman for the Committee for climate change remains an exponent of nuclear energy as a possible solution to future energy production but there has been a general move away from nuclear of late partly due to concerns over safety. This was highlighted by the recent Bradwell Power Station case whereby it was found guilty of leaking radioactive material from its reactors over a period of fourteen years.

The Energy Bill of last year sets out provisions for the introduction of a feed-in tariff in 2010 as a means of attracting investment in renewable energy production. It is believed that once there is a coherent tariff system in place in the UK, investment in green energy will become much more widespread and more attractive compared to nuclear which is often criticised for being both unsafe and expensive.