A Chinese-owned renewable energy firm has won official consent for plans to develop a giant wind farm off eastern Scotland that has been under consideration for years.

The Scottish Government has given approval for the proposed Inch Cape Offshore wind farm, which will involve installing up to 72 turbines around 12 miles off the Angus coast.

The company behind the proposal, Inch Cape Offshore Limited (ICOL), said the granting of the award was a key milestone for a project it reckons could meet around a tenth of Scotland’s annual electricity consumption.

It will seek UK Government funding support under the Contact for Difference subsidy scheme for renewable energy projects.

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The company noted the project has been revised since first winning approval in 2014 to help cut the costs involved while reducing the risk of potential environmental impacts.

It said the new proposal includes fewer but taller and higher capacity turbines than the 110-turbine original plan, significantly improving the efficiency of the wind farm. It will require the use of fewer export cables.

“The opportunity to propose an alternative design, which will see significant economic benefits and reduced risk of environmental impacts, is testament to how new technologies are continuing to transform the industry and bring improved benefits to the consumer,” said Ben King, Offshore Consents Manager at ICOL.

The company is owned by China’s State Development & Investment Corporation (SDIC).

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It has won consent for Inch Cape ten years after the Crown Estate awarded the site concerned to a consortium led by German energy firm RWE.

Spain’s Repsol took over the project in 2011 but went on to sell its UK wind power business to SDIC for $332m in 2016.

This gave SDIC a stake in the giant Beatrice wind farm off Caithness.

Construction work on Inch Cape is planned to start in 2020 with the wind farm expected to be operational early in 2024. Power from the wind farm will be supplied to the National Grid through a substation on the site of the former coal-fired plant at Cockenzie in East Lothian.

ICOL reckons the development work would provide a £560 million boost to the local supply chain and create 860 jobs.