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World’s Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Closer To Being Built Off Scotland
September 1, 2012
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Developers in Scotland are one step closer to building the world's biggest offshore wind farm. The developers - EDP Renewables and Repsol SA - have officially submitted plans to the Scottish government.

If they're approved, the wind farm would be built about 20 kilometres off the northern Scottish coast, and have enough capacity to power 40% of Scottish homes.

The farm is expected to cost more than $6.5 million. Construction is due to start in 2015 and be done by 2020. The plan is to build 339 turbines covering 300 square kilometres, making it 50% bigger than the London Array wind farm off Kent.

The project director says working offshore is perfect because of the excellent winds in the region. He says the farm should supply electricity to between 800,000 and a million homes. And it could save between 3.5 and 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, when compared to coal plants.

It's expected to be the first in a series of developments over the next eight years, which could provide tens of thousands of jobs across Scotland, building and maintaining the turbines.

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Environmentalists say it is a landmark moment. They say wind power can become a reliable and secure source of energy and is "unequivocally" an effective way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. But only if the government adopts a firm renewable energy policy and sticks with it.

A spokesperson for the Scottish government says "(the government) has the ambitious but achievable target of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020."

The project isn't without controversy. More than 100 Conservative MP's in the U.K. say wind farm technology is "intermittent and inefficient" and they want to cut subsidies.

As well, Donald Trump isn't happy with this kind development. He says a similar project will spoil the view from his planned new golf course.

A spokesperson for Trump says "(wind turbine proposals) are totally dependent on subsidies that will cost the taxpayer dearly. Watch your wallet - Scotland's energy bills will continue to skyrocket and the coastlines will be decimated by these steel-and-concrete monstrosities."

Some local people say they're concerned the turbines (which are 200 metres high) could hurt tourism, especially around whale and dolphin watching.

Related stories on Strombo.com:

The Donald Hates Wind Turbines

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