Offshore wind – how far offshore is offshore?

The offshore wind sector in Scotland is about to boom, with billions promised in investment over the next ten years. 

Kintyre ArrayKintyre Array

The first two major projects are the Kintyre Array and the Argyll Array.  The first one, the Kintyre Array, litle more than a kilometre ‘offshore’ at its closest point – virtually on the beach. The planned turbine array will blight the view from the golf course and beaches, damaging the  tourism which is a vital part of Kintyre’s fragile economy. The turbines   also lie squarely across the route of boats and yachts up the west coast of the Mull of Kintyre. Below you can see a montage of how the view from the beach at Machrahanish will look if this goes ahead. Needless to say the majority of the locals are not amused.

Kintyre Array montage Argyll Array

The Argyll Array

The Argyll Array is further ‘out of sight, out of mind’ – unless of course you happen to live on the windswept flat island of Tiree. The total area allocated for this massive array of up to 500 turbines is three times the size of the island itself, starting just five kilometers offshore. It covers a substantial percentage of the local fishing grounds, so there could be more than a view at stake here.

There is an active and well-presented anti-campaign, but there is also a quiet body of opinion that sees this as an opportunity for the island to bring in new blood, new jobs and new money. For some loss of a sea view is a small price to pay, and the criticism is that it is all ‘incomers’ and holiday home owners who are against the development. Others are campaigning for the development to be moved much further offshore, over the horizon – but the developers say the water further offshore is too deep.

Whatever the eventual outcome, Tiree will never be the same again.


Forum discussion of the Kintyre Array

Argyll Array site from Scottish Power Renewables

No Tiree Array

3 Responses to “Offshore wind – how far offshore is offshore?”

  • Hi,

    In ref: Tiree Array

    You keep missing the point.

    It’s not simply that these power generators will spoil our view…The visual impact will destroy our viable and growing tourist industry…the driver of approx 60% of the islands income.
    New builds on the island are already been cancelled, the second home owners will vacate the island, our construction industry (a major employer) is interlinked with maintenance of holiday properties and is already suffering. Diversification so necessary for many of the 100 crofts is in many cases directly linked to tourism.

    What Jobs ? what new blood and what money ? HIE/SPR or the Scottish Government cannot provide a quantifiable figure of the ‘mythical’ new jobs. The Strategic Economic assessment shows a loss of jobs. If there is no onshore infrastructure their will be no jobs. There is no legislation that says Crown Estates or the developer have to spend a penny on Tiree…

    The issue of moving the array to say 35km from our shore has nothing to do with water depth…technology will shortly be available (in use off portugal) to put all windfarms in deep water… this is Iberdrolas R&D goal. It is to do with the 12nm limit.


    Karl Hughes (Tiree)

  • FYI: Maritime agencies class everything within the 12 mile limit as inshore. Past that limit is offshore.
    Maritime windfarm companies choose to use the terms incorrectly…maybe a PR exercise ? to them anything past the low water mark is offshore !

  • admin:

    There is no specific ‘correct’ use of the term ‘offshore’. It is used one way by yachtsmen, another way by the inland revenue . . . to most people it merely means a significant separation from the land. 12nm is 22.25km .

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