The development of floating wind farms can create or support 17,000 jobs by 2050 and deliver tens of billions to the Scottish economy, according to a new report.

RenewableUK and its Scotland trade body counterpart, Scottish Renewables, claims an up-scaled floating sector could support could bring in £230 million a year by 2031 to UK based exporters.

It also claims the floating offshore wind sector could be worth £33.6 billion in economic activity over the next 30 years.

The technology allows large turbines to be installed in much deeper waters than the sites traditionally chosen.

But it is expensive and funding needs to be ringfenced for its potential to be met, the report said.

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The UK government said any investment in renewable electricity had to provide value for money.

The world’s first floating offshore wind farm Hywind opened two years ago about 15 miles off Peterhead in Aberdeenshire and according to the report the UK is in a unique position to export floating wind farms in deep-sea waters across the world. The farm can now generate enough electricity to power 20,000 homes.

HeraldScotland: An artist's impression of the Hywind floating wind farm

Cobra International are also currently constructing the five-turbine Kincardine Floating Offshore Wind Farm off Aberdeen.

The authors suggest that the government should use an auction framework to generate funding for these innovative technologies.

They also call for potential floating wind farm sites to be made available all around the UK, and for the government and industry to invest jointly in new infrastructure which will support the development of the technology needed.

Morag Watson, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said: “Scotland’s offshore energy experience and our deep water wind resource means we’re already a world leader in floating wind – technology which will be necessary to meet our net-zero emissions target."

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But it calls for changes to government contracts for selling electricity which would see a separate pot of money to help make "innovative technologies" such as floating wind cost-competitive more quickly.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy added: "As we have always said, any form of low-carbon innovation or tech must represent best value for money for our hard working taxpayers.

"Not only have we recently launched our pivotal offshore wind sector deal, but we have also committed to holding another round of clean electricity auction in 2021.

"This will all help in our mission to go further and faster to end our contribution to climate change by 2050."