Published on June 3rd, 2014 | by Jake Richardson1
1,000 MW Of Wind Power Could Be Installed Where Previously Prohibited In Scotland
June 3rd, 2014 by Jake Richardson
Scotland—already a leader in wind power—may have even more of it fairly soon. A new study has found that about 1,000 megawatts (1 gigawatt) of wind power could be installed where previously wind power had been prohibited.
RenewableUK executive Maria McCaffery said the study would help Scotland’s wind energy expansion. “This new research provides a springboard for the UK’s wind energy industry to take another step forward, as it creates fresh opportunities to install new projects in a part of the country which enjoys excellent wind resources, without the prospect of automatic objections by the MoD.”
The Eskdalemuir Seismic Array is a scientific observatory that was located near the tiny village of Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Gallow to reduce any interference from electricity. The research facility monitors solar radiation, seismic activity, geomagnetic fields, atmospheric pollution, and climatological data.
There was a concern that vibration from large wind turbines placed too close could disrupt its ability to detect sensitive information, so a large wind-power-free buffer zone had been enforced. (Its capacity is sensitive enough that it helped solve the puzzle of what happened to the Russian submarine Kursk, which some initially said was struck by a British submarine, but seismic data from Eskdalemuir disproved this idea.)
“In excess of 1 Gigawatt of wind generation capacity was planned for the southern uplands of Scotland. However, the United Kingdom seismic monitoring site which constitutes our component of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for monitoring compliance for nuclear testing is situated at Eskdalemuir near Langholm in the Scottish Borders. The Ministry of Defence therefore placed a precautionary blanket objection to any wind farm developments within 80 km of Eskdalemuir in case this compromised our capacity to detect distant nuclear test and breached our agreement under the CTBT. This effectively removed at least 40% of the UK renewable wind resource identified by the DTI,” explained Keele University.
Scotland wants to be running fully on clean electricity by the 2020 (which was moved forward from 2025 in recent years), so allowing new wind turbines to be situated in this area would help reach that goal. Adding another gigawatt will definitely help the cause.
About 46% of Scotland’s electricity is currently generated by wind power. If Scotland can achieve its goal of running fully on clean electricity in about six years, it might be quite an inspiration for other similarly sized countries (and larger ones) to follow suit.
According to the Wind Energy Foundation, one wind turbine can power about 500 homes—with sufficient wind, of course. Adding another 1 GW of wind power in the Dumfries and Gallow area isn’t the most popular option with everyone though. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has expressed concern over potential impacts between wild birds and the huge turbines. Some residents have also wondered if vistas could be spoiled, which might result in decreased tourism.
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