Scotland has 25% of Europe’s total wind capacity and is currently generating sufficient energy to meet almost half of the country’s annual electricity demands.
Recent statistics show that Scotland has met almost half of its renewable energy target a year ahead of schedule. Add this to the fact that offshore wind projects in Scotland have led to over 164 million pounds worth of investment in the Scottish economy and the future looks set for the UK to continue to be the largest installer of offshore wind.
There is also the potential for thousands of new jobs to be created due to the number of projects which have obtained planning permission. One such project is Neart na Gaoithe, a wind farm in the Firth of Forth, which has been awarded a contract to sell the power it will generate in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s first ever green power auction. The Scottish government is also actively encouraging foreign companies to bring their expertise to the country whilst looking for opportunities for their own companies to branch into offshore wind.
International companies involved in turbine manufacture such as Samsung, Gamesa and Areva have made their interest clear in Scotland as a global hub for offshore wind by announcing investment opportunities and Vattenfall, SSE, Iberdrola, EDPR and Respol have established offshore offices there. Other developments include the new UK Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult Centre in Glasgow and the UK’s Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh which all help to reinforce Scotland’s international reputation for research, development, design and engineering of offshore renewables and a range of enabling technologies.
To ensure that Scotland captures the biggest sustainable economic growth opportunity for a generation it is essential to maintain the momentum of its offshore wind sector. This sector will provide Scotland with the opportunity to not only develop new industries but also to meet its renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.