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by Sofia Villegas
30 January 2024
Tech giant bets on Scottish wind farm to reach net zero targets

Wind Turbine Generators of the Beatrice Demonstration Project in the Moray Firth | Alamy

Tech giant bets on Scottish wind farm to reach net zero targets

American giant Amazon has bought more than half of the power set to be produced by a wind farm off the northeast coast of Scotland.

The multi-national has signed a corporate power purchase agreement to acquire energy from the Moray West wind farm.

The 473MW share is equivalent to the power used by 650,000 British homes annually, the e-tailer said.

Located in the Moray Firth, the wind farm will begin to generate power later this year, playing “a critical role in decarbonising” both Amazon and the UK grid, Lindsay McQuade, director of energy at Amazon Web Services, has said.

Owned by Ocean Winds, a joint venture between France’s Engie and Spain’s EDP Renewables, the wind farm is currently under construction 13 miles off the coast of Moray.

The project expects to bring a £500m economic boost to the Scottish local economy and create more than 1,000 jobs throughout its development stages.

Ocean Winds claims the site will support Amazon in converting all its operations to renewable energy by 2025, five years ahead of the company’s original target.

McQuade added: “Transitioning to carbon-free energy sources is one of the most impactful ways to lower carbon emissions and is part of our Climate Pledge commitment to reach net zero carbon across our operations by 2040.”

Since 2021, Amazon has been the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, with over 500 wind and solar projects across the world.

Between 2014 and 2022, renewable energy projects in the UK enabled by Amazon generated £285m in investment - equivalent to more than £90m to the UK’s GDP - and created 600 local jobs in 2022 alone. 

The Moray West Project and net zero

The licence for the development of the Moray Firth Zone was awarded in 2010. It was later divided into Moray East and Moray West.

First power at Moray East was achieved in June 2021. However, its sister project was delayed due to constraints in the west zone and eventually commenced in 2016. It is hoped this will be fully operational in early 2025, with an operational life of more than 25 years.

Last June, Barclays provided a near-£100m loan for its continued construction.

Once operational, it will export clean green energy to the National Grid through the Blackhillock substation near Keith in Moray.

Expected to supply 50 per cent of Scotland’s electricity, it is hoped that it will help Scotland reach its 2045 net zero objective.

At a UK level, offshore wind is set to deliver at least one third of the electricity requirement by 2030.

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