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Scottish judges have today overturned a ruling that quashed consent for four offshore wind farms (totaling 2.3GW) in Scotland. The earlier court decision had been decided in favour of RSPB Scotland, who had brought the case on the grounds of impacts on protected seabirds. However, today, the Court of Session ruled in favour of developers and the Scottish government.
One of the affected windfarms is Neart na Gaoithe (450 MW). It already holds a Contract for Difference (CfD) and should now move forwards to construction. David Sweenie, the Offshore Manager for its developer, Mainstream Renewable Power, said, the project “It will create over 500 jobs during construction and over 100 permanent jobs once operational. More than £540 million will be directly invested in Scotland during the construction phase and a further £610m during the operational phase… Rapid advances in offshore wind technology have enabled us to reduce the number of turbines to be installed from 125 in the original consent application in 2012, to a maximum of 64 turbines today."
In a statement about the decision, RSPB Scotland director Stuart Housden said: “RSPB Scotland is, of course, hugely disappointed by today's judgment. While we fully support deployment of renewable energy, this must not be at any cost. Combined, these four huge projects threaten to kill thousands of Scotland's internationally protected seabirds every year, including thousands of puffins, gannets and kittiwakes. We will now need to take some time to consider this judgment in detail and consider its wider implications before commenting further.”
The full judgment is available here.