Owned by ScottishPower Renewables, part of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola SA, the Arecleoch windfarm will have 60 turbines of 2 MW each installed on the 24-square-kilometre site. The first stage of the project will involve laying 65 kilometres of roads and tracks to facilitate the delivery of the turbines.
This will be followed by laying hundreds of kilometres of cables that will connect the turbines to the electricity grid. When complete, the facility will produce enough energy to power 67,000 homes.
The company already boasts Europe's largest onshore windfarm in the UK at Whitelee. The facility has 322 MW of installed capacity, which is set to double to 600 MW.
Keith Anderson, Managing Director at ScottishPower Renewables, said: "We are delighted to have officially started this major project, which will make a significant contribution towards Scotland's carbon-reduction targets. Renewable energy is a growing sector that requires a skilled workforce. Scotland has been leading the way in delivering major green energy projects and has a well-established resource of skilled workers. This project alone will require a workforce of over 200, and with many other major projects in the pipeline, the renewable energy sector in Scotland will continue to grow and provide employment opportunities."
Scottish Energy Minister Jim Mather commented: "The Scottish government's Climate Change Act has the most ambitious greenhouse gas emissions reduction target in the world, and capitalising on the vast economic potential that green technologies present will help us enormously to reach that target.
"Scotland has won the natural lottery twice once with oil and gas, and again with our massive renewable energy potential. We have a clear competitive advantage with a quarter of Europe's wind-energy potential, as well as years of technological expertise through our vibrant energy industry. We have approved 25 renewable energy projects since May 2007."
ScottishPower Renewables had 790 MW of installed capacity in the UK at the end of June 2009, up almost 50% from 2008. Currently 5,018 MW of projects are in the pipeline.