A week and a half after Scotland voted not to split away from the United Kingdom and the Government is already back on track, approving the Middle Muir wind farm for construction.
The Middle Muir wind farm is a small one by comparison — only 15 wind turbines generating a total capacity of 60 MW — but it is representative of the importance Scotland’s ‘No’ vote in the independence referendum was. As Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggested in the wake of the referendum a ‘No’ vote would have damaged clean energy investment, “at least in the short term, as developers and banks are gripped by uncertainty over the future shape of the power market and incentives for renewables.”
The new wind farm, to be located 2 kilometres from Crawfordjohn in South Lanarkshire, has the potential to power almost 28,000 Scottish homes and generate community benefit funding of £6.37 million over the lifetime of the farm.
“The Middle Muir wind farm will create jobs both in its construction, and during its lifetime,” said Fergus Ewing, Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister. “In addition it will bring £6.37 million of community benefit funding for local communities and will also be able to produce enough electricity to power almost 28,000 homes.”
The Middle Muir wind farm is set to create between 25 and 50 jobs, which may not seem much on the scale of things, but for Crawfordjohn, a “small village nestling in the hills of South Lanarkshire on the border of Dumfriesshire,” it could mean big things.
“Wind farms, like Middle Muir, play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of electricity demand generated from renewables,” added Mr. Ewing. “Only yesterday we heard from the Department of Energy and Climate Change that Scotland’s renewable electricity generation in the first half of 2014 was 30 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2013. This overall increase is primarily due to a 50 per cent increase in hydro generation and a 20 per cent increase in wind output.”
Why the importance of Scotland’s renewable energy industry though? How does a small wind farm such as the Middle Muir reveal Scotland’s importance?
“We are already providing over a third of the UK’s renewable electricity generation and helping to keep the lights on across our islands at a time where there is an increasingly tight gap between electricity supply and demand,” explains Mr. Ewing.
Small renewable energy projects such as the Middle Muir wind farm are indicative of a country’s commitment to renewable energy as a whole. Considering Scotland’s importance to the entire Union, a return to funding and approving renewable energy projects so soon after the possibly devastating independence referendum means a lot for the region’s renewable energy future.
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