Thousands of jobs forecast from billion pound investment.
Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, has announced the formal consent of two adjacent offshore wind farm applications in the outer Moray Firth.
Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL) and the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL), together will be the world’s third largest offshore wind farm, with up to 326 wind turbines. The developments, sited off the Caithness coast, will be capable of generating up to 1,866 MW of electricity, enough to power over one million homes, and will be worth up to £2.5 billion to the Scottish economy.
The consents are granted subject to strict conditions which will mitigate and monitor a range of potential impacts, including in relation to birds and other environmental considerations.
The developers have to undertake local, regional, and strategic bird monitoring and have to comply with a number of plans such as the Environmental Management Plan and the Operation and Maintenance Programme to ensure effective mitigation takes place.
Mr Ewing said:
“Scotland has the potential to lead the development of an exciting, new renewables industry as offshore wind moves into deeper waters. Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity for Scotland; an opportunity to build up new industries and to deliver on our ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.
“These wind farms alone could generate gross value worth up to £2.5 billion over their lifetime and generate up to 4,600 jobs during peak construction and up to 580 once in operation.
“Offshore wind has been delayed by the process of the UK Government’s Electricity Market Reform, but these two consents today offer tangible progress towards real investment opportunity in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector, which could lead to a potential inward investment of £30 billion and support up to 28,000 direct jobs and a further 20,000 indirect jobs, generating up to £7.1 billion for the Scottish economy. As this industry develops, our enterprise agencies are working to secure supply chain development for Scotland.
“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places and Scottish planning policy is clear that 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.”
Caithness Sutherland and Ross SNP MSP Rob Gibson yesterday welcomed the Scottish Government giving the go ahead for the Beatrice and Moray Firth offshore developments.
The approval will see 326 wind turbines creating enough electricity to power around one million homes with a value of £2.5 Billion to the Scottish economy over its lifetime whilst creating thousands of jobs. The development would also be the third largest offshore wind farm in the world.
Mr Gibson is a leading environmental campaigner at the Scottish Parliament who has won awards including the 2013 Politician of the Year: Nature of Scotland Award and 2012 Best Politician: Green Energy Award.
“The Scottish Government recognises the importance of harnessing the renewable potential and this announcement is another step toward meeting the target to generate the equivalent of 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
“Developments in the Moray Firth are a major investment in the renewable resources of Scotland and will act as a catalyst to other offshore projects.
“It also provides prosperity and helps support jobs and communities. It is now up to the UK Government to show that same level of backing for schemes such as Beatrice and MORL promise for a sustainable future.”
As part of Moray Offshore Renewables’ ongoing commitment to the development of opportunities for Scottish and UK supply chain, as part of the deployment of offshore wind generation infrastructure in the outer Moray Firth, they are working in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise to deliver a series of supply chain engagement events in the Moray Firth area in Spring this year. For all information please go to MORL.