Four offshore wind farms that could provide enough energy to power over 1.4 million Scottish homes have received development consent, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing announced today.
Once completed, the developments in the Forth and Tay region - Neart Na Gaoithe, Inch Cape Offshore Limited, Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo - could be capable of generating up to 2.284 GW of electricity.
The Neart na Gaoith wind farm east of the Fife Ness coastline will have up to 75 turbines, generating 450 megawatts (MW) of power. The Alpha and Bravo Seagreen developments combined will consist of up to 150 turbines, around 27-38km off the Angus coastline, and could generate 1050MW. And the Inch Cape development, also off the Angus coastline, will total no more than 110 turbines, generating 784MW.
The consents are granted subject to strict conditions which will mitigate and monitor a range of potential impacts including those in relation to birds and other environmental considerations.
It is estimated that these four developments combined will produce carbon savings estimated at 135 million tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime.
The Scottish Government aims to move to a low carbon society generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s gross annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020, as part of a wider, balanced, energy mix.
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said, "Renewable energy is extremely valuable to Scotland’s economy, to reducing our carbon emissions and in providing low carbon energy supplies as well as jobs and long term investment. These wind farms alone could generate a combined gross value added of between £314 million and £1.2 billion in Scotland over their lifetime and generate between 2,567 and 13,612 jobs within Scotland during the construction period. Granting consent for these developments will enable them to bid for an offshore wind contract for difference (CfD) under the UK Government’s Electricity Market Reform process."
The news was also welcomed by Friends of the Earth Scotland. Director Dr Richard Dixon said the approval for the developments was a “big step forward” for Scottish renewable energy. He said: "Developing our huge offshore wind potential on a large scale is crucial for meeting Scotland’s ambitious climate and energy targets. Just these four developments could supply two-thirds of Scotland’s electricity needs with clean, green energy on windy days. These scheme represent as much capacity as Scotland’s current nuclear reactors - together with other renewables, these wind farms will ensure we not only meet all of our own demand, but we have a strong surplus of green electricity to export to England, Northern Ireland and beyond."