Thousands of jobs forecast as two adjacent wind farms off the Scottish coast gain formal consent

The Scottish government has given the go ahead for two offshore wind farms proposed for waters off the north-east coast of Scotland.

Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, has announced the formal consent

of two wind farm applications, which will be adjacent to each other 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 £2.5billion 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: ‘These wind farms alone could generate gross value worth up to

£2.5billion 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.’

The Crown Estate has welcomed the news.

Ronnie Quinn, The Crown Estate’s lead on energy and infrastructure in Scotland, said: ‘These consents signal a big step

forward for the offshore renewables industry, particularly in Scotland.

‘The

next stage is unlocking the multibillion pound investments required.’