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Scotland’s Offshore Wind Farms Investment Halved

Andrew Whitaker, The Scotsman

SCOTLAND’S offshore wind farm sector could be at risk due to a slump in investment, an industry body has warned after figures showed major developers had more than halved their spending north of the Border.

The SNP government has heavily promoted renewable energy and has set ambitious targets to generate the bulk of Scotland’s electricity from wind and wave power.

However, statistics showed that investment by developers in Scotland’s offshore wind industry had plummeted to £28.9 million last year – down from £63.6m in 2012.

Scottish Renewables, which represents more than 330 firms working in the sector, blamed the slump on the failure of planning authorities to approve wind farms.

Planning guidance for local councils in parts of Scotland such as the north and west Highlands states that wind-farm applications should not be approved except in special cases.

A senior Scottish Renewables official claimed that developers were being “left in limbo” due to strict planning rules and were opting not to invest in Scotland because of “uncertainty” surrounding the industry.

The body also blamed the “worrying” dip on a lack of detail on market incentives for investment in offshore wind developers.

Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager for Scottish Renewables, suggested that the industry could be starved of more future investment unless the government and authorities did more to encourage wind farm developments.

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