Scottish Government approves floating wind farm plan

The Scottish Government has given the green light for the construction of what it claims would be the world's largest floating wind farm, after regulatory body Marine Scotland concluded that the scheme would help meet renewable energy targets.

An artist's impression of the finished scheme
An artist's impression of the finished scheme

Hywind (Scotland) Limited, owned by energy company Statoil Wind Limited, applied for a marine licence from Marine Scotland - a directorate of the Scottish Government managing Scotland's seas – in March this year to build five floating wind turbines in the Buchan Deep, 25 km off the coast of Peterhead, north-east Scotland.

Hywind claims that the wind farm would generate 135GWh of electricity each year – the equivalent to powering up to 19,900 houses.

The turbines would be attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system and be connected to an export cable that would transport electricity from the scheme to shore at Peterhead.

In a decision letter, James McKie, leader of Marine Scotland’s licensing operations team, said that the application had been granted because the "increase in the amount of renewable energy produced in Scotland is entirely consistent with the Scottish Government’s policy on the promotion of renewable energy and its target for the equivalent of 100 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand to be met from renewable sources by 2020."

McKie also wrote that the development would help create a "thriving renewables industry in Scotland" and "contribute to local or national economic development priorities as stated in Scottish planning policy."

The letter further stated that the licensing authority was "satisfied that environmental issues can be appropriately addressed by way of mitigation, and that any impacts which remain are outweighed by the benefits which the development will bring."

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