Scotland Gets Europe’s Largest Wind Farm, and Smart Power Training

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Engineers will take smart grids across Scotland thanks to a government backed Energy Academy

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Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond last week officially opened a new, £2-million Scottish Gas Energy Academy in Hamilton – and switched on Europe’s largest operating onshore wind farm in Whitelees in East Renfrewshire.

The Scottish Gas Energy Academy has been set up to train engineers in new green technologies such as domestic micro-generation, energy efficient products, smart meters and to offer energy efficiency advice to customers – helping Scottish Gas towards its goal of taking on 100 apprentice engineers in Scotland each year – double the current figure.

“Scotland has the full support of Government, industry and research to exploit its energy potential to the full and lead the charge in the clean, green revolution to maximum economic benefit,” Salmond stated.

He also announced the managing director of ITI Energy, Duncan Botting will chair the Scottish European Green Energy Centre, which will act as a focal point for Scottish engagement in Europe to further green energy research, development and deployment.

And it was also revealed that Scottish Power’s application to extend its £300-million, 140-turbine wind farm at Whitelee has been granted. It said this would give it the capacity to power 250,000 homes and create up to 300 ‘green jobs’.

Salmond said that the government was committed to taking full advantage of Scotland’s 25 per cent share in Europe’s wave and wind power capacity, which he added offered the potential to create more than 16,000 jobs over the next decade.

“Our potential for electricity generation from renewables is up to 60GW – more than ten times our peak demand,” he said. “We have launched the world’s greatest single prize for innovation in marine energy, the £10-million Saltire Prize; we are developing and applying clean fossil fuel technology; we have an unrivalled competitive advantage in carbon capture and storage; we have approved Siadar, one of the largest wave energy projects on the planet; as well as developing and consenting hydro and biomass projects.”

The Scottish Government has a target to meet 50 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020, and an interim target of 31 per cent by 2011.