Scotland’s First Minister has marked a “major milestone” for renewable energy in the UK as the country’s tallest wind turbines were connected to the national grid.
Nicola Sturgeon was at Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Extension wind farm near Strathaven, in South Lanarkshire, on Wednesday where the 200-metre turbines have been installed.
Company development director Andrew Liddell said the site has the “tallest and most efficient turbines on UK land”.
There will be eight of the 200-metre turbines in the development, which is an extension to the original Kype Muir site, along with four 156-metre turbines and three which measure 176 metres.
With the extension, the entire development should have a combined capacity of 155.4 megawatts (MW) – potentially generating enough electricity to supply around 124,000 households a year.
Ms Sturgeon, who unveiled a plaque to mark the new turbines being connected to the grid, said onshore wind is the biggest source of renewable energy in Scotland and therefore “a vital part of our mission to become a net-zero economy by 2045”.
She added: “In addition to being a cheap and reliable source of electricity that harnesses one of our most abundant resources, onshore wind can also help us meet that target in a way that benefits communities – through the creation of high quality jobs and investment in local businesses and supply chains – as part of a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”
The “damaging impacts of the climate emergency” highlighted at the Cop27 conference and the “spike in energy prices” linked to the war in Ukraine show the importance of accelerating this change, she added.
The First Minister hailed Kype Muir as a “significant example of that in action”.
She also pledged that the Scottish Government will shortly outline plans to boost Scotland’s onshore capacity by up to 12 gigawatts by 2030 – saying such a move “could produce enough electricity to power 10 million homes for a year, or every home in Scotland for more than four years”.
Mr Liddell said: “To welcome the First Minister to the site and have her mark such a major milestone for Scotland’s renewable energy sector is an incredible privilege and proud moment for everyone involved in the project.
“Kype Muir Extension and its impressive turbines are an excellent example of a project that can make a real and positive impact towards the Scottish Government’s ambitious net-zero targets.
“Not only does the wind farm have the tallest and most efficient turbines on UK land, but it will also play a key role in providing the surrounding community with major benefits – something that is high on our agenda.
“Over its 30-year lifetime, there is no doubt that Kype Muir Extension will prove valuable in many different ways for South Lanarkshire and Scotland as a whole.”