Scots’ Offshore-Wind Investment Reaches $260 Million, Gro

Offshore-wind developers boosted their investment in Scotland last year as projects with the potential to power 3 million homes await approval, according to the industry body Scottish Renewables.

The companies spent 65 million pounds in 2012, bringing the total of their investments on the Scottish offshore-wind industry to 164.5 million pounds ($260 million), most of it over the past four years, the Glasgow-based group said. Last year’s spending represents contracts for projects now in the planning system that would provide 4 gigawatts of capacity, Scottish Renewables said.

Most of the investment has been in research, including environmental and technical-engineering surveys and project demonstration, said Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager for offshore renewables at the industry group. No projects have been given consent yet and developing them in deep Scottish waters of the North Sea is more difficult than in shallower waters around the English and Welsh coasts, she said.

“This level of investment, made in advance of their projects gaining consents, shows the considerable level of confidence developers have in Scotland’s offshore wind sector,” Leask said in the statement. “Once consents for projects are granted, this will both motivate new entrants and strengthen those existing companies who are already reaping the benefit of diversifying into this emerging sector.”

Offshore wind may support as many as 28,000 direct jobs by 2020, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said in October. Scotland aims to meet half its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2015, he said at the time.

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