United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Fulfilling obligation for renewables

As Britain's electricity supply companies become increasingly active in renewable energy development to help them fulfil their impending renewables obligations, the latest to embrace wind power is Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). It has unveiled plans for a 100 MW wind farm in south Ayrshire. Wind is currently the most economic and effective technology to meet its 18% obligation, the company says.

The proposed site near Hadyard Hill, east of Girvan, will have between 50 and 70 turbines. According to SSE, they will be largely screened from the areas of population by surrounding hills. The site was identified by the company's development partner DP Energy -- a small family wind energy development firm based in Ireland. SSE's David Sigsworth says consultations with statutory authorities and local representatives have begun, and SSE and DP Energy will hold public meetings and displays in early 2002 to explain their proposals.

Scottish and Southern Energy is a relative newcomer to wind, but Scottish Hydro-Electric -- one of the companies that merged to form SSE -- was among a number of players involved with an experimental 3 MW wind turbine at Burgar Hill on Orkney. SSE announced in November 2001 that it is to invest some £200 million in wind energy.

Kevin Dunion from Friends of the Earth Scotland welcomes SSE's announcement, which he says is significant because the company had given the impression of waiting to see which way the wind was blowing in terms of energy policy. "Their decision clearly indicates that investment in renewables is the most profitable and safest route for that company. They are thus a sound indicator of an energy market now accepting that renewables are going to win out in the argument about where Britain's energy future should lie."

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