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Four major wind farms approved for Scotland

Words: Laura Edgar

Four offshore wind farms, together capable of powering close to 60 per cent of Scotland's 2.4 million homes, have been approved by ministers.

Once operational, the four wind farms in the Forth and Tay region – Neart Na Gaoithe, Inch Cape Offshore Limited, Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo – will be able to produce 2.284 gigawatt (GW) of electricity.

This will be enough to power around 1.4 million homes and produce an estimated carbon saving of 135 million tonnes over their lifetime. The developments, subject to strict conditions and environmental impact monitoring, will also mark a major step towards fulfilling the Scottish government's ambition to have all the country’s gross electricity consumption generated through renewable sources by 2020.

Energy minister Fergus Ewing stressed the value of renewable energy to Scotland’s economy, noting that the farms are expected to provide between 2,567 and 13,612 jobs during their construction.

“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 budget for offshore wind (and other less established technologies) in the first of these rounds scheduled for autumn is £235 million, thought to be enough to support around 800 MW of offshore wind in UK waters.

“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,” Ewing said.