BWEA Welcomes Europe's largest onshore Windfarm coming online and securing extension

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

London, UK, May 20, 2009: The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) announced today that it welcomes the news that Europe's currently largest onshore windfarm is now fully operational.

Whitelee windfarm in Scotland has a capacity of 322MW, enough to power 180,000 homes, or a city the size of Glasgow. The opening celebration was enhanced by the news of the Scottish Government's approval for an extension, which will raise the windfarm's power capacity to 452MW and create 300 much-needed green jobs in construction. This announcement demonstrates the continued and underlying strength of the wind industry in the UK.

Whitelee takes the current level of wind operating up to 3.5GW. A further 9.2GW is either under construction or about to start construction, but 8.6GW, of which 7.1GW is onshore, is still awaiting planning permission. In England and Wales the majority of this is onshore at Local Government level, where planning decisions can take up to two years to be made, and the approval rate is only 40%, much due to the NIMBYs, the “not-in-my-backyard” brigade, who often include a variety of environmentalists as well.

BWEA's Director of Programme Strategy Chris Tomlinson called on the UK Government at Whitehall and Holyrood to ensure that the planning system is fit for purpose at both local and national level saying: "The superb achievement of having the largest onshore windfarm in Europe, providing power for hundreds of thousands of homes, shows what can be achieved when strong political leadership is shown. We now need that same leadership to be shown by local councils, who have the power to deliver a renewable energy future for the UK."

Whether it is at large commercial windfarm level or with regards to individual wind turbines for homes and farms and such like the local governments more often than not keep throwing a spanner into the works of deploying renewable energy in Britain.

The British Wind Energy Association is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 468 corporate members, BWEA is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Wind has been the world's fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions.

© 2009