ScotWind: Renewable energy is set to see Scotland hit the jackpot – Angus Robertson MSP

Few countries are lucky enough to win the natural resources lottery once, let alone twice.

Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 4:55 am

Fortunately for us, Scotland is one of those countries.

For decades, this country was the largest oil-producing nation in the European Union. And now, just as the world must transition away from fossil fuels to deal with the climate emergency, Scotland is becoming a global leader in renewable energy.

Sources of renewable energy – mostly onshore wind – already generate the equivalent of nearly 100 per cent of Scotland’s domestic electricity needs.

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Now the green-light has been given for the massive “ScotWind” rollout of offshore wind power – enough to power eight million homes in a country of five million people.

Scotland has become the first country in the world to launch commercial scale opportunities for floating offshore wind – worth £700 million to the Scottish government and billions of pounds more for the supply chain.

Seventeen projects around the eastern, north-eastern and northern coast of Scotland have been offered the rights to specific areas of the seabed for the development of offshore wind power, with a massive combined potential generating capacity of 25 gigawatts.

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At least £1 billion in supply chain investment is expected for every gigawatt of installed capacity, guaranteeing high-quality green jobs for decades into the future.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has correctly described the renewables announcement as "historic”. She said: “ScotWind puts Scotland at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind, represents a massive step forward in our transition to net zero, and will help deliver the supply chain investments and high quality jobs that will make the climate transition a fair one.”

ScotWind is the first round of offshore wind leasing in Scottish waters for a decade and was conducted by Crown Estate Scotland, the public corporation that follows Scottish government policy in managing land and property in Scotland owned by the monarch as a right of the Crown, including the seabed.

Simon Hodge, the chief executive of Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Just a couple of months after hosting COP26 [the climate summit in Glasgow], we’ve now taken a major step towards powering our future economy with renewable electricity.“In addition to the environmental benefits, this also represents a major investment in the Scottish economy, with around £700 million being delivered straight into the public finances and billions of pounds’ worth of supply chain commitments.“The variety and scale of the projects that will progress onto the next stages shows both the remarkable progress of the offshore wind sector, and a clear sign that Scotland is set to be a major hub for the further development of this technology in the years to come.”

With more than 25 per cent of Europe’s capacity in wind energy, Scotland is set to become a massive producer and exporter of renewable energy. It is great news for the economy and fantastic news for the environment.

Angus Robertson is the SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and Constitution, External Affairs and Culture Secretary

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