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UK’s largest wind farm hailed as ‘national success story’

The UK’s largest onshore wind farm, which is located near Glasgow, has been called a “national success story” after generating enough power to provide almost 90 per cent of the total annual electricity consumed by households and businesses in Scotland.

Whitelee wind farm began generating electricity in January 2008 and was officially connected to the National Grid a year later, in May 2009.

A new report from energy consultants BVG Associates found that it saved over 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions if compared to generation from fossil fuel and can offset enough CO2 to mitigate two days’ worth of every domestic flight to and from Heathrow and Gatwick airports.

It also highlighted that the wind farm is expected to provide a boost to the UK economy of more than £1bn, with over £790m in Scotland. The wind farm is also found to have supported more than 4,000 jobs during its peak years of construction while sustaining around 600 jobs each year through its operation and maintenance.

Lindsay McQuade, of ScottishPower Renewables (which owns and operates the wind farm along with almost 40 others around the UK), said efforts to achieve Scotland’s environmental targets can be achieved through working with industry and are underpinned through legislation.

“We know that renewable energy generation needs to quadruple if we are to deliver on net zero,” said McQuade. “We also know that onshore wind is the cheapest form of green energy and therefore should be part of Scotland, and the UK’s, low carbon, cost-effective electricity system.”

“If we are to meet the target of net zero by 2050, our ambition has to be backed by political will and underpinned by legislation. Since the passing of the Climate Change Act in 2008, a number of progressive policy measures have been put in place that has enabled Scotland to become coal-free.”

“Working with industry and government, the same approach is now needed to ensure we can continue to invest in much-needed renewable generation and thereby achieve this objective, and support action to tackle the climate emergency facing us.”

McQuade added: “Whitelee is a great example of what effective policy can deliver. It’s a national success story. Every year it produces the equivalent clean energy to power each and every electric vehicle currently in the UK, preventing over five million tonnes of carbon emissions had this energy come from fossil fuels.”

“The decarbonisation of our economy, transport and heating systems can all be achieved through existing technology, but that has to include onshore wind if we are to decarbonise by 2050.”

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