Turbine construction at ScottishPower Renewables‘s Whitelee Windfarm near Glasgow, Europe’s largest onshore wind project, is set to be completed ahead of schedule in the next few weeks.
The company has now constructed 126 turbines and has erected the base units of the final 14. All 140 turbines are now scheduled to be completed in the next few weeks, producing up to 322MW of electricity – enough to power more than 180,000 homes.
Once all turbine construction is completed, the company plans to carry out remedial work on the 90km road network that it has constructed as part of the project, complete the necessary site reinstatement works and finish a £2m visitor centre.
The site will then be opened to the public later in the summer. The company hopes that it will become one of Scotland’s largest eco-tourist attractions.
The site at Whitelee was first identified by ScottishPower Renewables a decade ago and planning consent was awarded in 2006. To achieve planning permission, the company constructed a radar station for Glasgow Airport, following concerns about potential interference.
During this period, the company also outlined its habitat management plan for the site. In total, the site has 25km² of actively managed habitat to promote blanket bog and moorland regeneration, improving conditions for black grouse, red grouse, wading birds and upland wildlife.
When completed later this summer, the visitor centre will be the first of its kind in the UK. It will include an exhibition area, explaining the construction of the windfarm, and a renewable-energy education centre, which will be operated by specially trained staff.
As part of the company’s plans to make the site accessible, tours of the windfarm will also be available for visitors. Plans are also being made to introduce eco-friendly buses powered by electricity generated from the site.