NORWEGIAN renewable energy giant Statkraft is to carry out feasibility studies which will focus on the possibility of bringing improved high-speed wireless broadband to Scottish communities at all planned new sites.

The firm, which owns and operates three wind farms in Scotland and is Europe's largest generator of renewable energy, said it will make significant investment in the plan.

The news came as the firm’s new Scottish HQ in Glasgow was officially opened by Paul Wheelhouse, minister for energy, connectivity and the Islands, and Claire Mack, Scottish Renewables’ chief executive.

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David Flood, managing director of Statkraft UK, said: “We will be making significant investment via construction and operations and look forward to a growing partnership.

“We are regularly asked by communities near our projects if we can help with broadband coverage and so we are committing to investing in feasibility studies at the early planning stage for our future projects. The result could be enhanced wireless broadband provision where we have wind farms.”

Statkraft’s renewables projects include Andershaw Wind Farm, South Lanarkshire, Baillie Wind Farm, Thurso and Berry Burn Wind Farm, Forres, while developing further projects across Scotland.

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Mr Wheelhouse said: “In 2018, Scotland was able to achieve a record level of renewable energy generation, with almost 74 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand being met from renewable sources, and with wind energy performing a very significant share of electricity generated and allowing us to decarbonise our power generation faster than most other countries.”

He added “it is clear that onshore wind plays a vitally important role in our current energy mix, that this role will continue to be critical to meeting future energy needs and it is renewable energy projects that will help achieve low carbon ambitions”.

Ms Mack said the move “shows how renewable energy developments are bringing more than just clean power to communities across Scotland”.