Scottish Power Threatens to Move Wind Farms to US

March 14, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Scottish Power plc (London), Britain's largest wind farm developer, announced that it may shift a large portion of its proposed £1 billion-plus investment in wind farms to the US unless the planning process is reformed. The company is becoming frustrated by the Ministry of Defence and airports operator BAA, which are objecting to the wind farm applications. They are worried that the turbines may interfere with their radar systems, and are concerned that aeroplanes sometimes "disappear" from their radar when flying close to wind farms.

According to the British Wind Energy Association, the Ministry of Defence objected to 48 percent of wind farm applications before the planning stage last year. It is understood that BAA and its regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, objected to a similar proportion. Two Scottish Power wind farm schemes - Whitelee near Glasgow and Black Law near Edinburgh - are being held up by objections from the Ministry of Defence and BAA.

Scottish Power Chief Executive Ian Russell stated, "We will invest over £1 billion this year, much of it going towards wind farm development in the UK and the US. However, projects in the US renewables industry can be developed much faster than their UK equivalents. The slower pace could cause problems for the UK as a whole as it tries to meet the government target of 10 percent by 2010."