Scottish government accused of selling lucrative seabed ‘for a pittance’ as plans for offshore wind farms announced


The projects, worth nearly £700million, have been chosen in the latest ScotWind leasing round for offshore windfarm sites in Scotland.

The developments, which will span approximately 5,000 square miles of seabed, are also expected to generate billions in associated investment and create new green jobs.

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But Alba party MP Kenny MacAskill has attacked the government as divisions over the proposals deepen, with the former SNP politician calling for annual payments from the public purse instead of a one-off fee to the actual hour.

A total of 17 new offshore wind farms capable of powering more than 18 million homes could be built in various locations across Scotland after the winners of Crown Estate Scotland’s latest ScotWind rental round were announced

He said: ‘This offshore wind giveaway is selling the family’s money cheap as Scottish families face crippling energy bills in April. Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.

“It appears that the Scottish Government gave away vast portions of North Sea wind resources for a pittance, much as Westminster gave away Scottish oil in the 1970s.

“Instead of a one-time payment of less than £700million, there should be annual payments. Instead of Scottish resources simply being handed over to international investment firms, there should be a public interest in every area.

Successful proposals include both fixed bottom and floating projects in various locations, primarily off the east coast, but also in the north and west.

Deputy Alba party leader MP Kenny MacAskill called for an annual payment and said the amount paid was “a pittance”.

If all the projects are built, they will together generate 25 gigawatts of renewable electricity, more than double the Scottish Government’s ambitions of 11 gigawatts and enough to power more than 18 million homes.

The proposals also prompted a swift response from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), which cited reduced access to stock-rich land and called for “meaningful engagement”.

SFF Chief Executive Elspeth Macdonald said: “It needs to be recognized at the highest levels of the renewable energy industry and the Scottish Government that fishing for fish is already a climate-smart industry that produces nutritious food. and high in protein with an extremely low carbon footprint.

“It is also an industry that supports many jobs and businesses ashore and is vital to Scottish coastal communities.

“In the rush to energy transition, it is essential that the voice of our industry is properly heard and that the fleet’s access to Scotland’s productive fishing grounds is protected.”

Ms Macdonald added: “Marine renewables are clearly part of Scotland’s transition to net zero, but so is fishing.

“For this transition to be fair, there has to be room for both to be successful.”

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) also called for a meeting with Nicola Sturgeon after the announcement, seeking assurances on seabird protection measures.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the proposals, which she said would be “transformative” and help ensure a secure future for oil and gas workers as the country moves away from fossil fuels.

“The scale of opportunity here is truly historic,” she said.

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The giant Forth offshore wind farm would be the largest in the UK and could power all Scots…

The Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council described the rental cycle as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity”.

Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said it was “particularly exciting” that wind farms were being built all around the Scottish coast – from Islay in the west, to Lewis and Orkney and up the coast is.

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