One new wind turbine built every day across Scotland

The number of wind turbines in Scotland has been growing by at least one a day in the last four years.

There are calls for more local power to veto wind farms as numbers soar. Picture: John Devlin
There are calls for more local power to veto wind farms as numbers soar. Picture: John Devlin

There are now a total of 3,400 onshore turbines, up from just 1,657 in 2012. Thatis an increase of 1,743 – an average of more than one new turbine every day.

And an additional 1,547 have planning approval, many of them now under construction.

The figures were released by the Scottish Government as it emerged energy companies were paid almost £5.5 million to switch off their turbines in Scotland for one day this summer.

The firms received the cash via “constraint” payments after their stations managed to produce more electricity than Scotland needed over a 24-hour period in August.

The situation has brought into sharp focus the continuing divisions that surround wind farms.

While many environmental groups support the development of turbines to meet the country’s power needs, there are many who feel the proliferation has spun out of control. Last year, local communities in England were given new powers to veto wind farms. All onshore wind farm applications are dealt with at local level, rather than national authorities dealing with the biggest projects.

Two new “planning tests” were also introduced so councils can only approve wind farms on sites that have been clearly designated as part of any local plan, and where the proposed project has the backing of the locals.

Anti-wind farm campaigner Lyndsey Ward said the same approach should be taken in Scotland.

She said: “I am concerned with the way community objections are cast aside by the government and wind industry. Communities should get the wind farm veto that’s given to residents in England.

“Planning is devolved to Holyrood, yet the SNP refuse to give us the same empowerment. They refuse to implement a moratorium on wind development.

“In June, Nicola Sturgeon said it was absolutely right people’s opinions had to be considered in respect of fracking as they were the ones living with it. What about wind?”

Scottish Power owns 715 turbines in Scotland while Scottish & Southern Energy owns 475.