Scotland to get £24m wind farm project

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The Independent Online

Scottish &Amp; Southern Energy announced plans yesterday for a £24m wind farm off the east coast of Scotland.

Scottish &Amp; Southern Energy announced plans yesterday for a £24m wind farm off the east coast of Scotland.

Wind farms are proving increasingly controversial as campaigners, including the Prince of Wales, lobby to have their development curtailed.

However, the most vociferous campaigning has been against onshore wind farms, and the SSE project is being placed far enough out to sea, according to the company, for it to have "no visual impact".

The scheme is a deep-water test project that will help determine whether such offshore wind farms will prove a viable source of renewable energy. The Government has set a target of 10 per cent of the country's electricity needs to be generated from renewable sources by 2010.

With onshore wind farms under increasing pressure, distant offshore alternatives are becoming more important. However, they pose greater technical difficulties and the cost of establishing them may prove prohibitive.

The new wind farm project will be operated in conjunction with Talisman Energy, a Canadian firm, and will be sighted 16 miles from the coast. It will test technologies that include the design, construction, installation and operation of two prototype wind turbines. The electricity generated, which is expected to start in 2006, will be used by Talisman at its nearby Beatrice field where it drills for oil.

SSE and Talisman will each contribute about £7m to the project, with the Scottish Executive and the UK Department of Trade each contributing £3m. The rest of the investment will be provided by the European Commission.

At the moment, SSE generates 1,362mw of renewable electricity per year, which it says is enough to keep a city the size of Aberdeen in power.

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