The 29-turbine Berry Burn windfarm, to be situated on the Altyre Estate near Forres, will have a capacity of 78 MW, while a six-turbine extension to the 20-turbine Millennium windfarm near Fort Augustus in Inverness-shire will boost capacity 15 MW to reach a total capacity of 65 MW. The new power generated by both schemes will be sufficient to power more than 43,000 homes.
Scotland is currently generating more than 3 gigawatts (GW) of power from renewable sources, while an additional 3 GW of renewable capacity has been granted permission for construction or has already begun construction. Another 3 GW is currently in the planning process. Right now, the country's Energy Consents and Deployment Unit is processing 34 renewable project applications, consisting of 25 windfarms and nine hydro projects.
The Scottish government aims to meet 50% of electricity demand from renewables by 2020, with an interim target of 31% of power coming from renewable sources by 2011.
"I am delighted to approve further investment to develop our vast natural potential, create more jobs and fuel the clean, green energy revolution," said Energy Minister Jim Mather. "Renewable energy is a key sector for Scotland and will help drive our economic recovery. New windfarms create jobs and can provide valuable benefits for the communities they serve. Our comprehensive climate change laws demand that we continue to support good projects that reduce emissions and help Scotland become a global role model for a sustainable, low-carbon economy."
At Berry Burn, the turbines will be a maximum of 104 metres high to the tip of the blades. In order to minimize environmental impact, connection to the national grid running north of the site will be via an underground cable.
Catamount Energy and Force 9 Energy applied for permission to construct the Berry Burn windfarm in September 2004. Permission was delayed by various issues raised during the consultation phases in 2006 and 2008; issues that have since been addressed.
Obtaining planning permission for Millennium Wind Energy Limited, which applied to extend its existing windfarm by six turbines in January this year, was much easier. The first electricity was produced at the Millennium windfarm in July 2008 and became fully operational in November last year. All of the wind turbines were supplied by Nordex AG.