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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Construction of wind farm begins
Wind turbine
More focus is being put on developing green energy
A ceremony has taken place to mark the start of construction on a 90m wind farm project at Hadyard Hill in South Ayrshire.

The facility, on the edge of an RAF low flying zone, is the result of cooperation between key bodies.

Developers Scottish and Southern Energy, the MoD, the Scottish Executive and local authority planners have all been involved in its approval.

The 130 megawatt wind farm will provide enough energy to power 80,000 homes.

It is expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2005.

Defence Minister Ivor Caplin MP was among those attending the small event at the Hadyard Hill site.

He described the wind farm as "a prime example of the MoD working to resolve issues with other agencies".

'Conflicts of interest'

He added: "The MoD fully supports wind farm creation and UK Government initiatives to increase the use of renewable energy.

"In fact, the MoD has devoted a great deal of effort and resources to understand the implications of renewable energy for defence activity and sites.

"Whilst there is a vital environmental and economic need for renewable energy in the UK, there is also a crucial need for a defence and military capability, so conflicts of interest may sometimes occur.

"This is why the MoD has set in train a number of initiatives designed to ensure that all developers have a chance to talk to us about their proposals at an early stage, and that way, plans are more likely to succeed."

Green energy industry body Scottish Renewables said it was "cautiously optimistic" the MoD would continue to support any such projects which fell near defence zones.

Jason Ormiston, senior wind energy officer for the association, said: "Industry figures show the MoD has objected to 48% of wind farm applications in the UK.

"The Hadyard Hill scheme demonstrates what can be achieved when the industry, the Scottish Executive and the MoD work together."

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