Next step for proposals

PROPOSALS for three major offshore windfarm developments, one off the Angus coast, have been progressed with a formal application for a £1.4billion project featuring up to 125 wind turbines.

Global energy developer Mainstream Renewable Power has lodged the application for offshore consent with Marine Scotland for the Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) windfarm at a site almost 10 miles off Fife Ness. The company has been granted exclusive rights by the Scottish Government to develop plans for the site, which was chosen for its water depth, ground conditions, low shipping density and optimal windspeed.

The company said the facility would be ready by 2016 and could generate 450MW of electricity, enough to power 325,000 homes, and make a major contribution to the government’s aim of delivering 100 per cent of domestic power from renewable sources.

Other proposed North Sea applications have been put forward by Seagreen, a joint venture between SSE and Fluor Ltd, to develop a 1,158 square mile area covering the outer firths of the Tay and Forth with a potential capacity of 3.5GW and Repsol, which is hoping to develop a 1,000MW windfarm at Inchcape off the Angus coast.

Concerns have been put forward that the windfarms could potentially affect the livelihoods of Angus creel fishermen as well as the turbines’ visual impact could affect tourism, but there are also hopes the developments could have a considerable employment spin-off for Angus and Montrose in particular, with hundreds of jobs created in the renewables sector.

The South Montrose Study put forward last year by Angus Council, concentrating on the development of the south end of the town and the port area, includes proposals for an offshore renewables operation and maintenance facility to help service the windfarms.

It is hoped that by attracting the renewables business to the town, between 250 and 500 jobs could be created.