The Crown Estate is awarding ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) an exclusivity agreement in order that it can investigate the potential for an offshore windfarm west of Argyll and the island of Tiree, following the recent Scottish Territorial Waters tendering process.
SPR has secured rights to examine the Argyll site and, over the next year, the company will conduct in-depth feasibility assessments and begin an extensive consultation process.
It is believed that the site has the potential to generate anywhere between 500MW to 1800MW of clean green energy - enough to power 270,000 to 1,000,000 households.
Keith Anderson, Director, ScottishPower Renewables said: “Offshore wind power has massive potential, and the UK Government has already outlined ambitions to generate up to 33,000MW of power off the UK coastline.
"Scotland has the best onshore wind resources in Europe, and now it is taking its first steps towards harnessing its offshore potential, which will play a major role in helping to achieve renewable energy targets.
“Today’s announcement is the first step on a long but important journey, and over the next 12 months we will carry out detailed studies of the site and will consult widely with stakeholders to help shape any future scheme.”
The site awarded to ScottishPower Renewables is amongst the first to be offered for offshore windfarm developments in Scotland. The Crown Estate initially requested expressions of interest from companies wishing to be considered for developing commercial scale windfarms within Scottish territorial waters in May 2008.
ScottishPower Renewables is currently co-developing the 500MW West of Duddon Sands offshore wind project and recently announced a partnership with Vattenfall to make joint bids in the third round of offshore wind farm development in the UK. The company is already the largest developer and generator of on-shore wind energy in the UK, with Europe’s largest windfarm at Whitelee due to be completed in summer 2009.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The tendering process for offshore wind sites in Scottish Inshore Waters began in May 2008 with interested parties submitting bids in October.
Following a high level of interest, the Scottish Government announced in October 2008 that they would carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for offshore wind. The SEA will ensure the significant offshore wind resource is developed strategically and the Scottish Government has announced that it will prioritise completion of the process within one year.
The Scottish Government has set targets to meet 50 per cent of electricity demand from renewables by 2020, and an interim target of 31 per cent by 2011.
Media information: Paul Ferguson 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924