First minister launches ‘UK’s tallest onshore wind turbines’

Gordon Thomson, head of projects at Banks Renewables, with first minister Nicola Sturgeon

FIRST minister Nicola Sturgeon has marked the connection of the UK’s tallest onshore wind turbines to the national grid.

The 200-metre structures are part of Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Extension Wind Farm in South Lanarkshire, that will consist of 15 new ‘ultra-efficient’ turbines.

Lying south of Strathaven, Kype Muir Extension’s turbines will have an installed generation capacity of up to 67.2MW of renewable electricity, providing around 53,700 households with ‘green’ electricity annually over its 30-year lifetime.

Scotland’s first minister marked the turbine connection a year on from Glasgow’s hosting of the COP26 climate summit. During her visit to Kype Muir Extension, Nicola Sturgeon unveiled a plaque and took the opportunity to discuss the future of renewable energy with members of the Banks Renewables team.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said, “Onshore wind is the biggest source of renewable energy in Scotland, making it a vital part of our mission to become a net zero economy by 2045. In addition to being a cheap and reliable source of electricity that harnesses one of our most abundant resources, onshore wind can also help us meet that target in a way that benefits communities – through the creation of high quality jobs, and investment in local businesses and supply chains – as part of a just transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“The damaging impacts of the climate emergency recently highlighted at COP27 and the spike in energy prices since the war in Ukraine demonstrate the importance of accelerating that transition. Kype Muir extension is a significant example of that in action, and the Scottish Government will shortly outline how we plan to boost the country’s onshore capacity by up to 12 gigawatts by 2030, which could produce enough electricity to power 10 million homes for a year, or every home in Scotland for more than four years.”

The wind farm is an extension of Banks Renewables’ 26-turbine Kype Muir Wind Farm site. The extension will feature four 156m, three 176m and eight 200m-tall wind turbines. Civils specialist RJ McLeod, which was originally appointed by Banks to construct the first Kype Muir wind farm, has been appointed as the contractor for the extension site.

Andrew Liddell, development director at Banks Renewables, commented, “To welcome the first minister to the site and have her mark such a major milestone for Scotland’s renewable energy sector is an incredible privilege and proud moment for everyone involved in the project. Kype Muir Extension and its impressive turbines are an excellent example of a project that can make a real and positive impact towards the Scottish Government’s ambitious net zero targets.

“Not only does the wind farm have the tallest and most efficient turbines on UK land, but it will also play a key role in providing the surrounding community with major benefits – something that is high on our agenda. Over its 30-year lifetime, there is no doubt that Kype Muir Extension will prove valuable in many different ways for South Lanarkshire and Scotland as a whole.”

The Kype Muir Extension is set to be fully complete and producing renewable electricity to the national grid in early 2023.