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MP Jamie Stone says far north has more potential for offshore wind development during UK Wind Week

By John Davidson

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Beatrice offshore wind farm.
Beatrice offshore wind farm.

The far north is primed to benefit from a huge expansion in offshore wind power, according to Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone.

The Liberal Democrat MP joined industry leaders in celebrating the UK wind energy industry and its role in tackling climate change as part of UK Wind Week.

Mr Stone said that his constituency was in the perfect position to help drive the country towards net-zero emissions due to its experience with the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, and that the area was "uniquely placed for further development and investment".

He said: "The Beatrice wind farm off the coast of Caithness has proved good technology.

"One thing we're not short off in the north of Scotland is wind and it is clear in my mind that there is considerable further potential of building further offshore wind farms, possibly west of Orkney and along the north coast.

"While these developments are good for the local economy, the trick is to ensure that maintenance of the turbines is delivered by local companies using local ports such as Wick and Scrabster, and in addition both the Scottish and the UK governments should do all that is possible to ensure that the new turbines are built using existing fabrication yards and skills as near as possible to the proposed offshore developments."

Jamie Stone.
Jamie Stone.

Hugh McNeal, CEO of RenewableUK, said the industry was delighted to have the support of Mr Stone.

“Wind power will be vital for the UK to deliver our net zero carbon emissions target. A future energy system powered by renewable energy will also provide thousands of jobs and drive down energy bills," he added.

The UK Wind Week celebrations follow a speech from the Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month in which he announced an ambition to make the UK “the Saudi Arabia of wind”. Offshore wind featured heavily in the UK government’s recent 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution, with a target of developing 40GW of offshore wind by 2030 – including 1GW of floating wind.

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