Beatrice Offshore Windfarm gets go-ahead for construction in the outer Moray Firth

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 23 May 2016 in News

New 84 turbine windfarm expected to provide 588MW of power when it becomes operational in 2019

A new £2.6bn windfarm has been given the go-ahead for construction in the outer Moray Firth.

The 84 turbine Beatrice Offshore Windfarm is expected to provide 588MW of power when it becomes operational in 2019.

The construction of the windfarm is expected to create over 890 jobs, with the project generating enough energy to power around 450,000 homes.


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Paul Cooley, director of renewables at SSE, thanked the Scottish Government, DECC, HIE, the Highland Council, Moray Council and local communities for the support they had provided.

He said: “Around £10m of investment is planned at Wick Harbour to house the wind farm’s operations and maintenance facilities and improving the existing RNLI facilities. We expect a peak of around 65 jobs during construction of the O and M base with around 90 long-term jobs anticipated during the operational phase.

“Today’s decision reaffirms SSE’s commitment to offshore wind and we are proud to progress such a flagship project for the Scottish offshore wind industry and the UK’s skilled supply chain. It shows SSE will continue to play its part in investing in the critical energy infrastructure the country needs to power homes across the UK both today and in the future.”

Work at the operations and maintenance facility in Wick and the transmission works in Moray will begin this year, with offshore construction expected to start in 2017 and the wind farm expected to become fully operational in 2019.

Paul Wheelhouse, minister for business, innovation and energy in the Scottish Government, said: “The Beatrice Offshore Windfarm has the opportunity to deliver so much to Caithness and Scotland as a whole, in terms of employment and community benefit.

“Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do. Renewables are now Scotland’s biggest electricity generator, and nearly half of gross electricity consumption comes from renewables.”

The project is expected to inject around £680m into the UK and Scottish economies through employment and supply chain opportunities during the construction phase, and between £400m-£525m during its 25 year operational lifetime.

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said the wind farm is “great news for the climate and Scotland’s economy”.

He said: “This single project will almost quadruple our offshore wind capacity, helping to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as well as creating jobs and supporting local economic renewal.  

“Scotland’s waters boast 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind resource and it is vital that we continue to tap into this invaluable resource in the future.   

"Independent research shows that we could have a secure electricity system powered almost entirely by renewables by 2030. To ensure that we reap the benefits of becoming the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation, the Scottish Government's forthcoming energy strategy should commit to this goal and major on flexibility, demand reduction, and storage.”

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