OFFSHORE wind power could generate more than £7billion for the Scottish economy by the end of the decade, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said yesterday.
He made the claim as it was announced new areas have been identified for development off Scotland with a new £5million research and development programme.
A Marine Scotland Science report said 10 gigawatts of offshore electricity could be generated on top of existing plans for the same amount.
Mr Ewing highlighted Scotland’s potential in a speech on day one of the European Wind Energy Association offshore wind conference in Amsterdam.
He said that, with 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resource, Scotland was the place to do business and reap “massive benefits”.
“By positioning Scotland as a world leader, we are witnessing new investment and new jobs,” he said.
“Offshore wind could support almost 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in Scotland by 2020, generating over £7billion for our economy, while there is already £300million being invested in Scotland to develop the next generation offshore wind turbines.”
Scottish Enterprise will take forward the research programme using the European Regional Development Fund. The idea is to help small and medium-sized enterprises reduce costs through support for prototype development, innovation and commercialisation.
Areas identified for potential exploitation include Firth of Tay; inner and south-eastern parts of the Moray Firth; off the east coast of Aberdeenshire; north of Orkney; east, west and north of Shetland; north and south Minch; and off the Hebrides.