Energy minister Fergus Ewing approves two wind farms

Wind turbines The government says the wind farms will be able to power more than 90,000 homes

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Two wind farms which could power more than 90,000 homes in the north of Scotland have been approved by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.

Dozens of jobs will be created with the approval of the 177 Megawatt (MW) Dorenell wind farm on the Glenfiddich estate, near Dufftown, Moray.

The 59-turbine farm will have the capacity to power 84,000 homes.

A six-turbine, 21 MW extension to the 104 MW Muaitheabhal wind farm in Lewis will power an additional 9,000 homes.

Mr Ewing said the Dorenell project involved capital investment of more than £250m, and would generate at least £93m in direct benefits for the Scottish economy.

About 75 jobs will be created in construction, with additional maintenance jobs once the farm is operational.

Developer Infinergy has also committed to delivering "long-lasting community benefits", worth about £350,000 a year, including a new visitor centre.

Moray Council, which had objected to the original application because it conflicted with its strategy for wind farm location, said it had no plans to appeal the minister's decision.

In the second project, the Muaitheabhal Community Windfarm Trust will receive a share of revenue generated by the privately-owned element of the wind farm and extension.

Developer Crionaig Power will also pay a portion of its annual revenue to the Western Isles Development Trust.

'Significant boost'

Consent for that wind farm was granted in January 2010 but it has not yet been built. The six-turbine extension was applied for in December 2010.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: "These two projects will provide a significant boost to the economy and to our efforts to become a green energy powerhouse.

"Once up and running, the Dorenell wind farm will produce enough green electricity to power double the number of homes in Moray, creating new jobs and cutting emissions.

"The development will provide a new visitor centre and stimulate wider regeneration, and help protect the environment through fisheries and habitat management plans."

He added: "The Muaitheabhal extension will see extra capacity added to the existing plans and both developments will play an important part in helping Scotland reach its target of the equivalent of 100% of electricity demand coming from renewables by 2020."

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