Scotland approves two major offshore wind farm projects
* Projects are operated by Repsol, EDP and SSE
* Combined capacity would be almost 1,900 MW
LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - Scotland's energy ministry on Wednesday gave consent for two offshore wind power projects with a combined capacity to povide over a million homes with electricity.
The two neighbouring developments, sited off the Caithness coast, will have a combined installed capacity of 1,866 megawatt (MW), enough to provide electricity to over a million homes, the Scottish government said on Wednesday in a statement.
"Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL) and the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL), together will be the world's third largest offshore wind farm, with up to 326 wind turbines," the statement said.
MORL is a joint development of Spain's Repsol and Portugal's EDP, while BOWL is operated by Britain's SSE .
The Scottish government said that the consents were subject to strict conditions such as potential impacts in relation to birds and other environmental considerations.
Wind power output varies strongly depending on weather conditions, and it therefore requires back-up by power stations.
Scotland's large, albeit declining, North Sea oil and gas reserves are well placed to serve as such back-up to renewable electricity generation.
Scotland will hold a referendum on 18 September this year on whether it should be an independent country from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (Reporting by Henning Gloystein, editing by William Hardy)