Moray Firth offshore wind farm project gets a green light

Moray could be set to benefit from thousands of new jobs that are being anticipated after formal consent was granted for what would be the world’s third largest offshore wind farm development.

Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL) and the Beartrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL) have received Scottish Government clearance to create adjacent wind farms in the outer Moray Firth.

Capable of generating 1866mw of electricity – sufficient for up to one million homes – the project is expected to generate around £2.5billion to the Scottish economy.

Consent is subject to a series of strict conditions to mitigate and monitor a range of potential environmental impacts, with the developers undertaking local, regional and strategic bird monitoring. They are also required to comply with and Environmental Management Plan and an Operation and Maintenance programme.

Announcing the decision, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland has the potential to lead the development of an exciting, new renewables industry as offshore wind moves into deeper waters.

“These wind farms alone could generate gross value worth up to £2.5 billion 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 £7.1billion for the Scottish economy.

“As this industry develops, our enterprise agencies are working to secure supply chain development for Scotland.

“The Scottish Government wants to see the right developments in the right places and Scottish planning policy is clear that 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.”

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