Scottish offshore wind investment climbs to £165m

Scotland's offshore wind developers have invested almost £165m in the Scottish economy to date, according to figures published by industry body Scottish Renewables.

A significant proportion of the £164.5m of investment occurred in 2012 alone, with the development of large scale offshore windfarms starting to gather pace.

In 2012, projects representing more than 4GW of potential installed capacity, enough to power 3 million homes, entered the planning system.

Scottish Renewables senior policy manager for offshore renewables Lindsay Leask said that this level of investment, made before projects received consent, showed the considerable level of confidence developers have in Scotland’s offshore wind sector.

“Most of this current investment has been made in research, such as environmental surveys, technical engineering surveys and project demonstration.

“However, this flow of private finance is also generating huge opportunities for the supply chain, and once consents for projects are granted this will both motivate new entrants and strengthen those existing companies who are already reaping the benefit of diversifying into this emerging sector,” she said.

The paper containing the figures, Offshore Wind: Investing in Scotland, also includes a map which illustrates a selection of announcements of intended investments in offshore wind.

Leask said: “From major international companies such as Mitsubishi, Technip and Samsung looking to base themselves in Scotland to homegrown businesses including NGenTec, Wind Towers and BiFab readying themselves for this next chapter of renewable energy, the map gives a clear indication of how all corners of Scotland could benefit from the growth of offshore wind.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) used the announcement as ammunition in its ongoing argument with American tycoon Donald Trump, who is opposed to the proposed construction of an offshore windfarm near his newly opened golf course in Aberdeenshire.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “It will stick in Donald Trump’s craw to see, that despite all his bluster, that Scotland is gaining new investment and jobs from its growing offshore wind industry.

“This news underlines that Scotland has become the place to come to develop marine renewable energy technology, including offshore wind.

“With our offshore engineering skills, our huge wind and wave power resources and strong renewables targets, Scotland has a bright future in clean, green energy.”

In addition to the positive figures in Scotland, the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) yesterday revealed that overall the UK was the leader with nearly 60% of Europe’s total offshore capacity, followed by Denmark (18%), Belgium (8%) and Germany (6%).

RenewableUK’s director of offshore renewables Nick Medic said: “This report clearly demonstrates phenomenal progress in the UK’s offshore wind sector over the past year.”

“It also provides further proof that major companies and investors have recognised the scale of opportunity offered by the UK’s tremendous natural offshore wind resource. We’re the go-to destination for the offshore wind sector.”

Conor McGlone

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