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United Kingdom

Planning consent to most powerful UK wind project

ScottishPower's plans to build the UK's most powerful wind farm were given a boost when Argyll and Bute Council granted the project planning consent at the end of April. Yet the company will not clear the final planning hurdle until the Secretary of State for Scotland gives his approval. He was expected to make a decision by the end of May. If it gets the all-clear, the project on Beinn an Tuirc on the Kintyre peninsula on Scotland's west coast, will comprise 46 turbines with a total capacity of 30 MW. Although not the largest wind farm in Britain in terms of rated capacity, the project would be the most productive for output, thanks to wind speeds in excess of 10 m/s. Alan Mortimer from ScottishPower says the company was thrilled by the decision. "It is a major addition to our wind farm portfolio and keeps the momentum going of our wind developments." The project could help secure the future of the nearby Campbelltown Shipyard, which hopes to establish itself as a centre for building wind turbine towers. Mortimer claims the wind turbine manufacturers tendering to supply the turbines are showing a keen interest in sourcing locally. Work on the site would not begin until ScottishPower carries out improvements to the habitat for golden eagles in the area-a precondition from Scottish Natural Heritage for withdrawing its objection to the project. The wind farm is expected to be fully operational in 2001.

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