“Massive leap forward” approved for offshore wind
Four offshore wind farms capable of powering 1.4m homes have been approved by the Scottish Government.
Energy minister Fergus Ewing has given development consent to Neart na Gaoithe off the Fife coast and Inch Cape and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo, off the coast of Angus which will together generate up to 2.284GW of electricity, led by Mainstream Renewable Power.
Ewing said the decision would provide a boost to the low carbon energy industry and generate between £314m and £1.2bn to Scotland, generating up to more than 13,500 jobs.
The consent will now allow them to bid in the UK Government’s contract for difference bidding round which opens later this month.
Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “These consents represent a massive leap forward for Scotland’s emerging offshore wind industry, and take us a step closer to realising the social, economic and environmental benefits of this hugely-important technology.
“All commercial-scale Scottish offshore wind projects now have consent, and have the potential to generate up to 4.15GW of clean electricity – enough to power up to three million homes. The focus now moves on to whether developers can access a Contract for Difference - the new support mechanism for nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage - which the backers of the projects need to finalise their investments.”
Ewing warned the level of support available for offshore wind was small compared to support being given to the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station which could receive a potential £35bn subsidy in addition to a £10bn loan guarantee.
He said: “This inevitably means that growth in green energy will be restricted, a sector where Scotland has a competitive advantage.”
He added: “I am determined to ensure communities all over Scotland reap the benefit from renewable energy, which will help to reduce climate emissions.
“I also want to see the right developments in the right places. The design and location of any onshore and offshore wind farm should reflect the scale and character of the landscape or seascape and should be considered environmentally acceptable.”
Neart na Gaoithe, led by Mainstream Renewable Power Ltd is 15 km off the coast of Fife;
Inch Cape Offshore Limited (ICOL), a joint venture between Repsol Nuevas Energías UK Limited and EDP Renewables UK Limited is 150 km from Angus.
Seagreen Wind Energy – a partnership between Fluor and SSE Renewables – has two projects Alpha and Bravo, both off the Angus Coastline.
Strict conditions have been added to the developments to limit environmental impacts including the effect on bird populations
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