Scottish and Southern Energy's (SSE) Clyde wind farm has been officially opened by Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond. Clyde is one of the largest single consented wind farms in Europe and represents SSE’s largest onshore wind power project to date.
Clyde makes a significant contribution to SSE’s position as the largest generator of electricity from wind across the UK and Ireland, and supports SSE's generation priority of becoming a greener and more flexible non-nuclear generator. SSE currently has over 3,000MW of renewable generation capacity in operation in the UK and Ireland, of which over 1,600MW is powered by wind.
The 152 turbines at Clyde wind farm are split into three sections with a total installed capacity of 350MW, capable of producing enough energy during a year to meet the needs of around 280,000 homes(1). The project is situated between Biggar and Moffat occupying around 47 square kilometres.
Consent for Clyde wind farm was granted by Scottish Ministers in July 2008 with construction commencing in April 2009. At the peak of this construction around 400 people were employed on the site. Clyde’s location presented many engineering challenges, including the need to construct around 105km of roads to enable access to the furthest reaches of the site. Associated infrastructure also included two substations, one operations building and a new radar installation in Cumbernauld.
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The £500m project has contributed approximately £100m of contract value with companies in Scotland, including Wind Towers in Machrihanish supplying the turbine towers, plus associated indirect value to the supply chain. Clyde continues to provide a range of employment opportunities with 19 full-time SSE staff and 39 Siemens staff based across the site with additional jobs created off-site to facilitate operations and maintenance.
Clyde has the largest wind farm Community Investment Fund in Scotland which is expected to be worth around £22million (£875,000 per year for the lifetime of the wind farm). This includes £700,000 per year in South Lanarkshire of which 70% goes to local community projects and 30% to a regional development fund for businesses and organisations. There are also local community funds in Dumfries and Galloway and The Scottish Borders worth £140,000 and £35,000 per year respectively. Well over £300,000 has already been awarded to a number of projects from these funds providing real benefit to the local community.
SSE’s Chief Executive, Ian Marchant, said: “We are proud to have The First Minister here to open Clyde wind farm today. This marks SSE’s position as the largest generator of electricity from wind across Great Britain and Ireland and is a major milestone for SSE in progressing its investment in renewable generation. Today will help us meet our target of halving the carbon intensity of the electricity we produce by 2020. Importantly, the site also provides a lasting legacy with a significant number of permanent jobs and a Community Investment Fund which can make a real difference to the local area.”
Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond, said: “Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources. Harnessing this through renewable energy offers the prospect of tens of thousands of new jobs and billions of pounds of investment in our economy - nothing less than the reindustrialisation of Scotland.”
"Here in Lanarkshire, in Scotland's heartland, the Clyde wind farm is a great example of how the renewables revolution is good news economically for business and communities. Quite apart from the jobs and economic benefit being created through SSE’s 350 megawatt wind farm, almost £22m will be ploughed into communities across South Lanarkshire, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway over the next 25 years from their profits."
(1) Based on household consumption of 3,300 kWh per year.
SSEs 350 MW Clyde wind farm officially opened