Six areas off the Scottish coast have been identified as the ideal locations for windfarms which could generate enough electricity to power three million homes.
The sites are outlined in a report published yesterday called Blue Seas, Green Energy – which says that renewable developments at the sites have the potential to deliver almost five gigawatts of electricity by 2020.
The six locations are Beatrice in the Moray Firth, Argyll Array off the coast of Tiree, a section of sea near Islay, and Forth Array, Inch Cape and Neart Na Gaoithe, which are all in the Firth of Forth.
The document, which sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for developing offshore wind energy up to 2020 and beyond, was complied after two years of research.
Its publication means that developers interested in building windfarms in the six areas can move forward to the licensing stage to get the turbines up and running.
Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland has huge potential to become Europe’s leader in clean, green energy generation.
“Offshore wind offers massive business opportunities and allows us to be at the forefront of emerging technology and development.
“The government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector, which could lead to a potential generation of more than £7billion to Scotland’s economy and support up to 28,000 direct jobs by 2020.
“Realising and harnessing this must be done in a sustainable way that ensures communities can also benefit from the economic opportunities presented by this growing industry.”
Offshore windfarm company SeaEnergy said it was pleased that its Beatrice and Inch Cape sites had been identified as suitable places for developments.
Dan Barlow, head of policy at environmental group WWF, said: “This announcement marks a major step toward Scotland fully realising the massive renewable resource around its coastline and ending its reliance on dirty coal and nuclear power.”
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