Reacting to the news that four offshore wind farms have been given the go ahead by the Scottish Government, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“This is a big step forward for renewable energy in Scotland. Developing our huge offshore wind potential on a large scale is crucial for meeting Scotland’s ambitious climate and energy targets.

“Just these four developments could supply two-thirds of Scotland’s electricity needs with clean, green energy on windy days. These schemes represent as much capacity as Scotland’s current nuclear reactors. Together with other renewables these wind farms will ensure we not only meet all of our own demand but we have a strong surplus of green electricity to export to England, Northern Ireland and beyond.

“While the Scottish Government has given these schemes the go ahead the UK Government’s lack of enthusiasm for renewables means that there is a risk that these schemes might not be built. The UK Government needs to stop its obsession with nuclear power skewing the electricity market to the major disadvantage of renewable energy.

“No energy source has zero impact and these schemes will have to be constructed in phases, with detailed monitoring to make sure that any impacts on wildlife are reduced to the absolute minimum. The Scottish Government has included safeguards for nature in the permissions given today.

“Friends of the Earth’s vision for the future of energy is for 100% renewable energy with much more community ownership of energy production. We urge all three developers to work with the coastal communities of the Forth and the Tay to find ways for local people to own and directly benefit from part of these developments.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1.The Scottish Government’s announcement is here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Consent-for-offshore-wind-development-1… The wind farms have been approved with planning conditions designed to minimise impacts on wildlife.
2.The Government list the four windfarms as:
*Neart na Gaoithe – 75 turbines – 450 MW – 15.5 km east of Fife Ness coastline
*Alpha and Bravo Seagreen developments – 150 wind turbines – 1050 MW – 27-38 km east of the Angus coastline
*Inch Cape – 110 wind turbines – 784 MW – 15-22km east of the Angus coastline
3. In March the Scottish Government recently approved two offshore windfarms in the Moray Firth http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/1805
4. The UK Government has changed the way the energy market works, aiming to provide about £40bn of bill-payers’ money to support new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point over the next 35 years but this means there is less money available to support renewables including offshore wind.
5. Today marks the start of Reclaim Power week, an international week of action opposing dirty energy and supporting clean energy: http://www.reclaimpower.net/days_of_action
6. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 74 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk