The Scottish Government says it strongly supports upgrading existing wind farms with more advanced turbines as part of plans to double onshore wind capacity by 2030.
A consultation has been launched on how to secure an extra eight to 12 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind by the end of the decade.
Scotland currently has 8.4GW of installed wind generation, though up to 2.5GW of this is expected to reach the end of its consented life by 2030.
The consultation document says ministers want to see “repowering” – installing more modern and powerful technology – rather than life extension or decommissioning, as well as bringing new sites online.
Increasing onshore and offshore wind was part of the SNP-Green co-operation agreement signed earlier this year.
Speaking on a visit to Kype Muir Wind Farm in Strathaven, South Lanarkshire Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We need bold action to tackle the climate emergency.
“Onshore wind is one of the most cost-effective forms of large-scale electricity generation and is vital to Scotland’s future energy mix as we transition to a net-zero economy.
“Our draft onshore wind policy statement outlines the huge potential for this technology, and assesses the significant economic opportunity of future deployment, particularly in light of our green recovery aspirations.”
Green skills minister Lorna Slater said: “The Scottish Government is committed to an economic recovery from Covid-19 that is both green and fair.
“The growth of the onshore wind sector presents us with an opportunity to secure further good, green jobs.
“By acting now, we can set Scotland on a pathway to meeting our climate change targets in a way that supports a just transition and delivers opportunities for all.
“Scotland has excellent onshore wind expertise and is recognised as having one of the best systems in the world in which to deploy wind farms.”
Morag Watson, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, welcomed the launch of the consultation.
She said: “There will be significant challenges to overcome, particularly in the capacity of the planning system to deliver timely consents, but as we head into Cop26 industry looks forward to working with the Scottish Government to overcome these barriers to cement Scotland’s position as a world leader in both onshore wind and action on climate change.”