Views on further increasing Scotland's onshore wind capacity for generating electricity are invited in a new Scottish Government consultation.

As the COP26 climate change conference begins in Glasgow, ministers believe that Scotland's net zero commitment presents the opportunity to reassess the original Onshore Wind Policy Statement published in 2017. They are considering how to strengthen their support for onshore wind deployment in Scotland, aiming for an additional 8-12 gigawatts to be installed by 2030. 

They remain of the view that onshore wind will be vital in progress towards Scotland's legally binding net zero targets, being "a proven cheap and reliable source of electricity generation".

The paper poses questions on the installed wind capacity that will be necessary over the coming decade, methods of financing new development, how best to support the integration of wind and hydrogen production technologies, and technical barriers to deployment. An environmental section then considers use alongside forestry and peatland restoration, biodiversity and conservation, and habitat management, before a final chapter addresses the maximising of economic opportunities.

Writing in the foreword, Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson states: "In the delivery of this essential additional capacity, we will expect engagement from industry in our indigenous supply chain, ensuring that economic benefit from these developments is felt the length and breadth of the country.

"We continue to encourage communities to engage with the planning process and recognise the significance of the community benefit schemes resulting from these projects. However, we are determined to ensure that any capacity is developed in a way which is fully aligned with, and continues to protect, our natural heritage and native flora and fauna."

Click here to access the consultation. The deadline for responses is 21 January 2022.