Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) has been granted consent by the Scottish government for an 87.5 MW project at Gordonbush in Sutherland in the north of Scotland. Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, says: "While the Gordonbush proposal has spent almost five years in the planning system, there are encouraging signs that the planning process is beginning to speed up. Given the scale of the energy challenges facing the country, it is important these encouraging signs represent a sustained commitment to a better planning process." SSE says that work will start as soon as possible on constructing the 35 wind turbines. The Gordonbush consent marks a step towards SSE's new goal of 4000 MW of renewable generation for 2013 in the UK and Ireland with 50% of this expected to come from wind. The plan entails a capital investment of over £2.5 billion over the coming five years. The new target results from a review of the group's renewable investment plans following its recent acquisition of wind energy developer Airtricity. SSE is already half-way there. It passed the 2000 MW milestone last month with the commissioning of several Scottish wind farms. In addition, it has over 1900 MW of renewables either under construction, consented or in planning. Beyond the British Isles, wind projects in Europe and China could add a further 500 MW to SSE's portfolio by 2013. Marchant says the EU's commitment to binding national targets illustrates the long term value of renewables. "The logic for renewable energy is compelling and we have the commitment and financial strength to realise the opportunities that will flow from it -- opportunities that were materially enhanced by the acquisition of Airtricity."
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol