Scotland is poised for a major renewables boost under plans to significantly increase the number of windfarms around the UK coastline.
A third of British electricity could be generated by offshore wind farms by 2030, the government has said as it unveils a new deal with the industry.
Offshore wind currently provides around 7 per cent of British power, but that could increase to more than 30 per cent by the end of the next decade, providing 27,000 jobs in the sector.
It would mean that, for the first time in UK history, more electricity is generated by renewables than fossil fuels, with a predicted 70 per cent of power coming from low-carbon sources by 2030.
It is hoped the green power “revolution” will be helped by a new deal between the government and industry to develop the supply chain and boost global exports.
The deal will increase the sector’s target for the share of UK-based production for offshore wind projects to 60 per cent, to ensure the £557 million pledged by the government for future clean power auctions benefit local communities around the country.
ScottishPower will confirm that as part of a £6bn investment plan it is actively pursuing future offshore wind projects in Scotland to ensure the targets are met.
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “Offshore wind has a key role to play in achieving our ambitious energy targets and delivering a low-carbon energy system.
“Scotland has massive offshore wind potential with a large share of Europe’s offshore wind resources and the commitment that the sector deal represents from government, academia and industry will help ensure that our world-leading offshore wind sector develops successfully and sustainably.”
The industry will invest £250m in measures including ensuring British companies are competitive and world-leaders in innovation in areas such as robotics and floating wind and larger turbines.
A partnership between government and industry will support smaller supply chain companies to export for the first time, to help boost global exports to areas including Europe, Japan, and the United States five-fold to £2.6 billion a year by 2030. Alongside the deal, the government will provide more than £4m for British businesses to share expertise globally and open new markets through a programme to help countries such as Indonesia and Pakistan avoid coal power and develop their own offshore wind projects.
And there will be more efforts to reduce the cost of offshore wind projects, which have already seen costs halve in just two years, in the 2020s to help move to a subsidy-free system.
The Crown Estate will also be releasing new seabed land from 2019 for future offshore wind projects.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “This new sector deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.
“By 2030 a third of our electricity will come from offshore wind, generating thousands of high-quality jobs across the UK, a strong UK supply chain and a five-fold increase in exports.”