SCOTLAND'S onshore wind capacity will more than double by 2030 under plans to help cut harmful emissions and support the energy sector’s net zero transformation.

The Scottish Government's finalised Onshore Wind Policy Statement was published on Wednesday and confirms its ambitions for 20 Gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind power to be installed by the end of the decade.

This could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 19.5 million homes per year. Currently, around 8.7 GW of onshore wind is operational.

An Onshore Wind Strategic Leadership Group will be formed to develop an onshore wind sector deal in 2023 to maximise supply chain and community benefit opportunities from the sector’s expansion.

The policies set out in the Revised Draft National Planning Framework 4 - currently before Parliament for approval - would ensure that the planning system enables the growth of this zero-carbon sector while continuing to protect Scotland’s most valued natural assets and cultural heritage.

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Energy and Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We need bold and urgent action to tackle the climate emergency, and the further expansion of onshore wind will be vital to delivering on our climate targets while ensuring a just transition for Scotland’s energy sector.

“As a proven technology and one of the most affordable forms of energy, onshore wind will be vital to Scotland's future energy mix, creating and sustaining good green jobs for the sector while improving our energy security and resilience.

“Our Onshore Wind Policy Statement sets out a clear vision for the sector to accelerate during what is a critical decade of action to deliver our energy transition."

Matheson said the ambition for increased capacity will be in the new draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, which will be published next month.

Mark Ruskell, the Scottish Greens environment spokesperson, said: “We are in a climate crisis and we need to transform our energy supply. Onshore wind is the cheapest green energy source out there and it has a big role to play in cutting emissions and our energy bills at the same time.

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“Scotland has an abundance of resources, and this new policy will put them to use, while ensuring that local communities and the whole country benefit from the investment and green jobs that it will create.  

“This bold and ambitious vision stands in stark contrast to the climate-wrecking policies that are being pursued by a Westminster government that is doubling down on oil and gas and has even commissioned the first new coal mine in 30 years.

"As long as we remain tied to an anti-climate Tory government we will always have one hand tied behind our back. With the powers of an independent nation we can halt new oil and gas drilling in our waters, reform our broken energy system and do even more to build a greener and better future.”