Renewable Energy in Argyll and Bute

Argyll and Bute's abundance of wind, water and wave energy, and the energy potentially generated by biomass, present key sustainable economic opportunities. From the domestic scale through to large scale commercial developments, renewable energy generation across Argyll and Bute is contributing to Scotland’s journey towards net zero as well as reducing energy costs, supporting the local economy and generating community wealth. 

Argyll and Bute has a distinguished track record of pioneering and delivering renewable energy developments, including:

  • Cruachan hydro-electric scheme, the first reversible pump storage hydro of its scale in the world (1965); 
  • One of the first large scale Scottish windfarm at Beinn Ghlas (1999);
  • The Isle of Gigha became the first community-owned grid-connected windfarm in Scotland when they commissioned the dancing ladies (2004); 
  • A pioneering approach to community benefits; and 
  • Proposals to develop one of the world's first tidal power array demonstration project in the Sound of Islay.

Argyll and Bute Council aim to promote the full range of renewable energy resources in our area, in a manner that promotes sustainable economic development and recognises the need for co-existence with other economic activities, our environment and our communities. To achieve this we maintain partnerships with renewable energy companies and other stakeholders to maximise the benefits for our communities through the Argyll and Bute Renewables Alliance (ABRA), please see below.

Interactive Renewables Map

The Interactive Renewables Map allows you to access up to date information on renewable energy developments throughout Argyll and Bute and highlights our track record of innovation and commitment to this sector.

The Map links with our online planning application system, allowing you to search by renewable type, scale and status of development where planning permission was required.

Our interactive renewables map, which shows you all the renewable energy developments in Argyll and Bute, by type (e.g. windfarms, hydro-electric, tidal, etc.), scale, status and for a specific location, and allows you to click on any sites you are interested in to find out more details about it.

Offshore activity information is provided by Marine Scotland and The Crown Estate. View the latest maps and GIS data from The Crown Estate here.

To find out how much renewable energy capacity Argyll and Bute has, view our most recent graph.

Is our information out of date or do you have information on other renewable developments? Please contact

If you are looking for some help using the interactive maps, you can download the LocalView Renewables Map user guide, which takes you through the different ways you can use the system to find the information you are looking for.

Major proposed projects 

The following major projects are proposed within Argyll and Bute:


  • Cruachan 2 (600MW) – creation of a second pumped storage hydropower scheme utilising the existing Cruachan Dam at loch Awe.

Not yet consented:

  • Machair Wind (2GW) – a 2GW offshore wind farm proposed to be located west of Islay.
  • Malin Sea Wind (100MW) – an innovative 100MW floating offshore wind project proposed for the Malin Sea south west of Islay.
  • Balliemeanoch Pumped Storage (1.5GW) – a proposed new pump storage hydropower station located south of Loch Awe 
  • Sloy conversion to pumped storage (152.5MW) – proposals to convert the existing 152.5MW Sloy Power Station into a pumped hydro storage facility.

Maximising the benefits of renewable development for Argyll

We want to ensure that maximum benefit is achieved for the communities of the area from renewable energy developments. Already many households, community organisations and businesses are realising the benefits from generating their own renewable energy but other benefits can include:

  • Community benefits; and 
  • Economic benefits. 

Community benefits

A number of renewable schemes offer community benefit, a voluntary payment which, in most cases, make grants available to local communities to deliver services, facilities and local improvements. You can find out which areas are covered by community benefit schemes through our community benefits interactive map

You can also view our guidance for dealing with community benefits which can help if you are considering setting up a new community benefits scheme.

Economic benefits

The construction, operation and maintenance of renewable energy projects can help to support our local economy. From hospitality to boat hire and from consultancy services to engineers there are many sectors that can be involved in supporting renewable development both during construction and once operational. Many renewables developers will seek to engage with the local supply chain well before construction works begin.

Companies interested in supporting the offshore wind industry both in Argyll and elsewhere in Scotland can register with the Deepwind Cluster.

Support for developing renewable energy

Argyll, Lomond and the Islands Energy Agency (ALIenergy) promotes sustainable energy use and generation to the benefit of individuals, communities and the local economy, and to combat fuel poverty. If you would like more information on the work of the agency, please visit the ALIEnergy website.

Home Energy Scotland can offer advice on a range of energy saving measures and renewables for domestic properties. They can also advise on grants and loans available to those interested in installing energy efficiency measures and renewables. See the Home Energy Scotland website for further information. 

Business Energy Scotland supports businesses looking to introduce energy efficiency measures and renewable energy. See the Business Energy Scotland website for more information. 

Local Energy Scotland supports community based organisations in delivering renewable energy projects. They manage CARES - the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme. CARES supports communities across Scotland to engage with, participate in and benefit from the energy transition to net zero emissions. For more information see the Local Energy Scotland website.

The Argyll and Bute Renewable Alliance (ABRA)

The Argyll and Bute Renewable Energy Alliance (ABRA) brings together key public and private sector partners - including Argyll and Bute Council, the Scottish Government, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Marine Scotland, Scottish Power Renewables, Scottish and Southern Energy, The Crown Estate Scotland, Nature Scot, Skills Development Scotland - to ensure a greater awareness of all the issues relating to renewable development across Argyll and Bute, and to act as a key mechanism to assist with delivering the Renewable Energy Action Plan.

The first meeting of the Argyll and Bute Renewable Energy Alliance took place on 22nd March 2011. ABRA meets annually to discuss strategic issues associated with renewable energy within Argyll. Our vision is:

“Argyll and Bute will be at the heart of renewable energy development in Scotland by taking full advantage of its unique and significant mix of indigenous renewable resources and maximising the opportunities for sustainable economic growth for the benefit of its communities and Scotland.”

ABRA also promotes Argyll and Bute as a location for renewables.

A summary table of the actions within the Renewable Energy Action Plan can be accessed here

renewable_energy_action_plan_.pdf (PDF, 125.94KB)

For further information about ABRA email

Landscape wind energy capacity study

Read the full report and appendices of the landscape wind energy capacity study, produced to develop the windfarm / wind turbine policies and associated spatial framework in the proposed local development plan.

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