A newly published report into the renewables potential of the Moray Firth has estimated that the development of offshore wind turbines could lead to as many as 1700 construction and maintenance jobs.
The report, published by EDP Renewables, followed detailed work undertaken over the past year to develop plans for 1500MW offshore wind generation in the Outer Moray Firth.
The power will be collected by up to eight offshore electrical platforms, before being sent to shore via a grid connection point at Peterhead Power Station.
The report reveals that the development of wind turbines 13 miles from shore in the outer Moray Firth will deliver between 360 and 1400 jobs during construction, and between 130 and 280 jobs through operation and maintenance.
When asked by journalists at Monday’s media briefing if an independence referendum would have deterred the investment, the report’s authors categorically rubbished the suggestion.
Commenting, Managing Director of EDPR UK, Dan Finch said:
“Over the past year, we have worked hard to move offshore wind in deeper water from a proposal to a viable project. This report shows some of the work we have undertaken across a huge range of different environmental studies.
“In particular, the report examines some of the likely economic impacts of the project and demonstrates the size of the new market we will bring to the Moray Firth area, and to Scotland. We are keen to work with the Government and business agencies which will be able to develop the supply chain and turn this new market into jobs and economic growth.”
The new report follows a document by Altrium Securities earlier this month that highlighted Scotland’s leading role in the green energy sector and described a report by a London based firm Citigroup that urged against investing in Scotland as “alarmist”.
The Altrium Securities report said:
England has a low wind speed regime combined with high urban density and as such the cost of meeting UK Government emission reduction target would be more expensive without Scottish based renewables. We therefore view Scottish independence an irrelevant factor in meeting UK wide reduction commitments as the lowest cost supplier will always be sought first.
SNP MSP John Finnie has welcomed the latest independent company report which points to continuing renewables investment in Scotland. Mr Finnie contrasted the report with what he claimed were Tory Chancellor George Osborne’s “constant scaremongering about a referendum” that risked “deterring investment in Scotland”.
Mr Finnie, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said:
“Gamesa, Doosan Power Systems and Mitsubishi – and the Altium Securities investor report which makes it clear that investment will continue whatever Scotland’s constitutional status, including independence.
“These developments demolish nonsensical claims made recently – the fact is there will be a continuing need for Scottish renewable electricity to be exported to help keep the lights on south of the Border.
“International corporations and domestic firms are investing for the future in Scotland’s world leading renewables industry. There is a pipeline of 17 Gigawatts of renewable electricity projects – nearly three times peak Scottish demand – with total estimated capital investment of £46 billion, ready to create thousands of new jobs in Scotland.
“For as long as the wind blows and the tides turn, that investment will continue.”
Experts have suggested that:
- Scotland can be the lowest cost generator of wind energy in Europe, as higher capacity wind farms in Scotland can generate electricity more cheaply than the rest of the UK and most of Continental Europe;
- Scotland’s wind energy resource is 78 per cent of the UK, and without Scottish based renewables, the rest of the UK would be required to build far more renewable energy to achieve its climate change objectives;
- Due to England’s low wind speed and high urban density, the cost of meeting UK emission reduction targets would be more expensive without renewable electricity from Scottish;
- For the UK to expose itself to greater energy dependence from the Middle East and Russia would be too great a risk and locally supplied clean energy would almost certainly be treated as a priority;
- Mainland Europe, in particular Germany, would be a ready buyer of zero emission energy;
- Nuclear energy does not provide a viable alternative in terms of cost, risk and return, or meeting carbon reduction commitments.
The Altium Securities report can be viewed at: http://www.capmarkets.com/ViewFile.asp?ID1=168926&ID2=511671389&ssid=1&directory=12107&bm=0&filename=Renewables_04_Nov_2011.pdf