The Danish energy company has been awarded the exclusive right by the UK Crown Estate to undertake a feasibility study in the Outer Solway Firth in the Irish Sea for a possible 300MW wind farm eight kilometres from shore. The waters off south-west Scotland were identified last year as a potential location for wind-energy generation by Scottish government agency, Marine Scotland Science.
A public campaign opposing such development led to the withdrawal of plans to build a wind farm in nearby Wigtown Bay and another next to the existing 180MW E.on wind farm at Robin Rigg.
The member of the Scottish Parliament for Galloway and West Dumfries, Alex Fergusson, is opposed to wind development in the Solway Firth. "This announcement marks the start of what will be a long campaign by those who, like me, oppose the very idea of a large wind farm between Luce Bay and the Isle of Man," he said. "This proposal will require an even greater effort if it is to be rejected. That effort starts now."
Another politician, Russell Brown, the MP in the UK parliament for Dumfries and Galloway, is also against development. "Local people will be thinking 'here we go again' as the prospect of yet more turbines off our coast rears its ugly head," said Brown. "I am deeply concerned that this will scar an area of stunning natural beauty."
Once turbines are installed "the natural landscape is changed forever", he added. Dong Energy said its proposal is at a "very early stage" and pledged to consult widely.
The Scottish government has said it wants renewables to be a cornerstone of future economic policy.