Projects such as Beatrice and Neart na Gaoithe are an unparalleled opportunity to deliver jobs and investment in Scotland for many years to come.
The UK has more offshore wind turbines than any other country on Earth. Installed capacity in England and Wales has grown 50% annually on average over the last decade. That expansion has delivered £9,500 million of investment and created 13,000 jobs. However, while Scotland has a quarter of Europe’s entire European wind resource, only around 5% of UK offshore turbines are in Scottish waters, mainly due to the rugged environment which has required cutting edge technology. That is now changing with a host of new developments being brought on stream in the months and years ahead.
The Beatrice project in the outer Moray Firth is the only consented commercial offshore wind projects currently under construction. Nevertheless, the figures for its development alone are impressive. The project, at £2,600 million, is almost twice that of the new Queensferry Crossing and is one of Scotland’s largest-ever private infrastructure investments.
It is anticipated that Beatrice will add £1,130 million to the economy and support more than 18,100 staff-years of full-time employment. Construction spend alone in Scotland is expected to be £530 million.
It’s not just Beatrice which will create jobs. Mainstream Renewable Power, developers of the 448 megawatt Neart na Gaoithe project in the outer Firth of Forth, could deliver an economic impact of £827 million over its 30-year life.
Energias de Portugal Renewables is developing the multi-billion pound Moray East Offshore Windfarm near Caithness and revealed on 26 August that the project will create nearly 2,000 jobs over its 30-year lifespan. Meanwhile, near Aberdeen, Swedish company Vattenfall is pressing ahead with a £300 million, 11-turbine windfarm using technology at the very cutting edge of offshore wind design.
Statoil’s Hywind project will be the world’s largest floating wind farm when installed in the Buchan Deep, 15 miles off Peterhead later this year; the Kincardine Offshore Windfarm, a 48 megawatt, eight-turbine project, is expected to begin deployment nine miles off the coast of Kincardineshire in 2018 and 2-B Energy has permission to erect two innovative twin-bladed turbines in the Firth of Forth, with plans to install a further seven at the site in future
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“Such developments and the jobs and boost to our economy they will provide, should be welcomed by everyone who wants to see Scotland succeed, not only in terms of inward investment but also as a leader in the drive to tackle the carbon emissions which cause climate change.
“Each of the above projects are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in offshore wind, whilst helping to develop a thriving supply chain, with companies diversifying from oil and gas into renewables to capitalise on the opportunities afforded by the shift to green energy.
“Offshore wind is at the heart of our efforts to tackle climate change and also represent a tremendous opportunity to deliver jobs and investment in Scotland for many years to come.”