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Scotland leads Europe with green energy, says Alex Salmond

Scotland leads Europe with green energy, says Alex Salmond(By Dave King via Daily Record)EUROPE'S largest wind farm was officially switched on yesterday by First

Minister Alex Salmond.He said Whitelee wind farm in Renfrewshire was the envy of Europe - then

announced a £300million extension for it.That will create about 300 jobsand boost Scotland's green energy capability

even further.The wind farm was only one of a series of boosts for the renewable energy

industry on what the Scottish government called Scotland's "Green

Wednesday".Whitelee has 140 turbines capable of generating enough power to run 180,000

homes.The extension will see a further 36 of the 330ft turbines put up, making

enough electricity for 250,000 homes.Salmond said: "Whitelee is already flying the flag for onshore wind power

in Europe."The planned extension will enable the wind farm to harness its comparative

and competitive advantage in wind-generated energy within Europe."It has the infrastructure, the expertise and the capacity to continue to

develop in the future."The wind farm had employed more than 500 people and put £300million into

the economy.But Salmond claimed the benefits would go beyond that.He said: "It is an investment in Scotland's potential and ambition to lead

the clean, green energy revolution."Our potential for electricity generation from renewables is up to 60

gigawatts - more than 10 times our peak demand."He added that more than 16,000 jobs may be created in the renewable energy

sector over the next decade.The government want to have 31 per cent of electricity coming from

renewable sources by 2011, rising to 50 per cent by 2020.Richard Dixon, director of environmental charity WWF Scotland, said the

wind farm makes "a very welcome contribution to meeting Scotland's targets

for renewable electricity and cutting climatechange emissions".Enterprise minister Jim Mather announced that Duncan Botting, head of ITI

Energy, has been appointed executive chairman of the new Scottish European

Green Energy Centre. It will open in Aberdeen later this year.Mather said: "Our ambition is to shape European energy policy."We have the advantage in our natural resources and our universities,

research institutes and energy industries are world leaders in clean energy

research."Ministers also announced 26 projects will share £1.6million under the

Scottish bio-massheat scheme.There is £400,000 backing for 11 low-carbon homes schemes in communities

from Aviemore to Dumfries.Plans for 23 wind turbines off the coast of Aberdeen are to be scaled back

amid fears they could be a danger to shipping.For the very latest renewable energy jobs in Scotland, Europe and worldwide

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