The initial 140 turbines situated across the 55 km2 site will be capable of producing up to 322MW of electricity - enough to power over 180,000 homes and the equivalent of displacing 500,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.
A proposal to extend this by another 130 MW has today been approved by the Scottish Government, thus powering an additional 70,000 homes. In addition, the company is also carrying out scoping work on a potential second extension, which could add a further 140MW. It is anticipated that an official planning application will be submitted for this later in the summer. This would mean a total capacity of near 600 MW.
In its position 370 metres above sea level, 15km to Glasgow, there are over 500,000 people living within a 30km radius of Whitelee. This is one of the first major windfarms to be constructed close to large population centres, and an ever increasing supply of renewable energy has been fed directly into these areas since the site first started exporting power in January 2008.
As well as the physical construction of the turbines, the �300 million project has also seen the creation of a 90km floating road network and the connection of over 970km of cables to link the turbines to the national grid. A �2m state-of-the-art visitor centre is also in the process of being completed.
At its peak over 500 people were working on-site and more than 1,820,000 working hours have been spent constructing the windfarm. It is thought that both the first extension and planned second extension could create a further 300 green collar jobs.
Switching on one of the final turbines at Whitelee today, Gal�n, said: "Whitelee is a milestone in the history of Scotland, not only representing the largest wind farm in Europe but also one of the largest in the world."
ScottishPower, part of the Iberdrola Group, has a 9,000-strong workforce in the UK, and registered revenues in the country of nearly �7 billion last year. It invested around �800 million in Scotland in 2008 and made purchases of more than �1 billion from around 2,400 Scottish suppliers. Commenting Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond MSP said: "Today we announce further investment, more jobs and greater progress of Scotland's clean, green energy revolution.
Posted on 21st May 2009
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