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Massive offshore wind farm approved
The world's third largest offshore wind farm, capable of powering more than a million homes and creating more than 5,000 jobs, has been cleared for construction off the Scottish coast.
Formal consent has been granted for adjacent projects by Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL) and the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL) for a total of 326 wind turbines.
The developments in the Moray Firth, off the coast of Caithness, will be capable of generating up to 1,866mw of electricity.
Their impact on birds and the environment will be monitored, Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said.
"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," he said.
"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 £7.1 billion 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."
Meanwhile, US aerospace and defence firm Lockheed Martin has made further progress with its move into ocean energy generation with a contract to design one of the largest single-rotor tidal turbines ever developed.
The AR1500 turbine will initially support the MeyGen project in Scotland's Pentland Firth, which is expected to deliver enough energy to power 200,000 homes.
The MeyGen project will contribute to Scotland's goal of 100% renewable energy by 2020, according to Lockheed Martin.
Director of ocean energy Tim Fuhr said: "By 2040, world energy demand is expected to dramatically increase.
"Lockheed Martin's technology, development and expertise in ocean systems and global system integration skills will enable the AR1500 to use powerful tides to produce safe, clean renewable energy for homes and businesses around the world."