Plans for five offshore renewable energy sites across Scotland have been approved.
The projects, which could deliver 5GW of electricity, will see a new offshore windfarm built in the Moray Firth, two in the west coast and another two in the Outer Forth and Tay.
The Crown Estate has granted leases for the five offshore sites, which will bring the total energy capacity generated in Scotland’s waters to 10GW.
Scottish Commissioner, Gareth Baird, said: “The Crown Estate has already invested £16 million in offshore renewable energy in Scotland and plans to invest another £20 million in the next five years, funding ‘enabling actions’ such as environmental studies and engagement work that help de-risk the projects and attract investment.”
Developers will now have to apply for consent for a seabed lease at the sites they have been granted access to.
Final consent is awarded by regulator Marine Scotland which ensures companies meet environmental, safety and operational standards.
Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm Ltd hopes to build more turbines in the Moray Firth. SSE Renewables and SSE Renewables have secured agreements for the west coast, at Islay and Argyll Array respectively. Repsol Nuevas Energias UK will build at Inch Cape while Mainstream Renewable Power has secured a site at Neart na Gaoithe, both at the Outer Forth and Tay.
Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said welcomed the announcement, which he branded a “hugely important development”.
He said: “Offshore renewable energy provides Scotland with a key opportunity to use our many years of experience and expertise to create clean, green energy for the future.
“Scotland has an estimated quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource, making us the powerhouse of green energy in Europe.
“With this wealth of natural resources it is vital that we plan now to secure the benefits of this next energy revolution for future generations.”
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