“The key to offshore wind development in Scotland is not consent but investment, and these proposals stand little chance of attracting investors. They total 2.284 MW but the total current subsidy pot for all UK renewable proposals will only support 800MW. It is inconceivable that these proposals will see off all the competition for subsidy from other renewable technologies or more cost-effective offshore projects down south.
“Even if one of these projects wins the subsidy jackpot, it is no guarantee private investment will follow because the wind industry reckons the current strike price of £140 is too low.
“Because Scottish offshore wind farms have to grapple with deeper waters, harsher weather and much greater transmission distances than their English and Welsh equivalents, they are uneconomic. This is why England and Wales have nigh on 20 operational offshore wind farms while Scotland’s offshore plans are more than 8 years behind schedule.
“The precise impact of offshore wind on marine and birdlife is unknown, but there is enough expert testimony to show that certain species will be decimated and marine ecology turned upside down. It is laughable to imagine that the Scottish Government can protect the integrity of the marine environment by means of “planning conditions”, given the proposed scale of development.
“The Scottish Government is once again playing politics with energy policy by setting a Scottish offshore wind industry (which barely exists) against a UK-supported nuclear industry. The truth is that offshore wind in Scotland is a fantasy while it will be nuclear power that keeps Scottish lights on in decades to come. The last thing Scotland needs is more environmentally destructive turbines producing over-priced, intermittent electricity for export to England.”