Mainstream Renewable Energy welcomed the consent for its 450MW Neart na Gaoithe project in the outer Forth Estuary in the North Sea. The development is expected to start pre-construction activities next year, with commissioning due in 2018.
Flour and SSE's 1.1GW Firth and Forth phase 1 — made up of the Seagreen Alpha and Seagreen Bravo projects — has also been given the green light. The projects, which feature up to 150 7MW turbines, are expected to go online in 2020.
EDP Renovaveis and Repsol are developing the 784MW Inch Cape project 15 kilometres off the Angus coast. The companies have been given consent to install up to 110 turbines at the site.
Scottish consent for these developments now enables them to bid for an offshore wind Contract for Difference under the UK government's new subsidy scheme.
The Scottish government was keen to stress that the consents were granted subject to strict conditions that will "mitigate and monitor a range of potential impacts, including those in relation to birds and other environmental considerations".
While announcing the consents, Scottish energy minister Fergus Ewing reiterated the government's aim of generating the equivalent of 100% of Scotland's annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020.
But many experts have cast doubt on the likeliness of hitting this target due to a number of setbacks, including Iberdrola's scrapping of the 1.8GW Argyll Array project.