Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Turbines achieve energy landmark

Dalswinton wind farm
The Dalswinton wind farm was officially opened by Energy Minister Jim Mather

Renewable energy capacity in Scotland has passed through the three gigawatt barrier with the official opening of two wind farms.

The combination of wind, biomass, hydro and wave energy is said to be enough to power about 1.5m homes.

Energy Minister Jim Mather confirmed the landmark on the Scottish Government's Green Energy Day.

He was officially opening the Dalswinton and Minsca wind farms in Dumfries and Galloway.

The two Scottish and Southern Energy schemes provide 66MW of energy capacity between them.

Mr Mather said: "In the last year, Scotland has experienced a renewables surge and our energy industry goes from strength to strength.

1550MW - Wind power
1380MW - Hydro power
79MW - Biomass power
0.5MW - Wave power

"New developments coming on stream include 150MW of the Whitelee wind farm on Eaglesham Moor and Steven's Croft biomass plant near Lockerbie.

"And the opening of Dalswinton and Minsca wind farms takes us one step closer to creating a sustainable, low carbon economy."

He said passing the three gigawatt landmark was a "fantastic achievement".

"There is much more to come," he said.

"We are speeding up decision making and since May last year we have approved 14 renewable applications up and down the country, including the Clyde wind farm, the largest single consented wind farm in Europe.

"That certainty of quicker decision making has brought private investment of around 1bn in Scottish green energy schemes recently - with more to follow."

Jason Ormiston, chief executive of green energy trade body Scottish Renewables, said the progress had been impressive.

"It was only five years ago that the industry thought hitting 18% of Scottish electricity demand by 2010 would be seriously challenging," he said.

"We have exceeded that target several years early and the renewables industry in Scotland is focused on meeting the next big target of 50% ahead of schedule."

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