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Massive wind farm boost puts Scotland on target

Jun 26, 2007 - Stewart Paterson - The Herald

A huge increase in the number of wind turbines across the UK will be signalled today as part of a "radical" 100bn blueprint to boost renewable energy.

The Government will outline measures to build up its clean power supply if it is to reach its EU-imposed target of producing 15% of the country's energy from renewable sources.

Ministers are expected to say that radical steps are needed to diversify energy supplies.

Up to half of the target will have to come from electricity, meaning a third will have to be generated from renewables by 2020, which will call for a massive wind energy building programme.

An extra 4000 onshore and 3000 offshore turbines will be needed, impacting on communities, business and the Government, ministers will say when they publish a consultation on its renewable energy strategy.

Ministers are set to publish new research showing that four out of five people favour wind power and two-thirds would be happy to live within 5km of a wind farm.

The Government will highlight the creation of up to 160,000 new jobs by promoting more renewable energy.

The Scottish government has set out a target of 31% of electricty from renewable energy by 2011. Yesterday ministers welcomed approval for two windfarm developments creating electricity for more than 100,000 homes.

The fourth largest, of its kind in Scotland, the farm at Barrhill, in South Ayrshire, will house 60 turbines, capable of serving around 80,000 houses.

In Mark Hill, South Ayrshire, a 28-turbine windfarm will produce energy for 41,000 homes. ScottishPower has been given consent for the largest of the two developments, with an estimated investment of 200m.

Energy Minister Jim Mather said: "Scotland has a vast array of potentially cheap, renewable energy sources. We are turning that into a reality with a progressive and distinct approach to make renewables a driver of sustainable economic growth.

"We are committed to meeting the EU target of 20% of all energy demand coming from renewables by 2020."

Another 26 applications for wind farms, eight for hydro projects and one wave project are being processed.

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