Six years ago, the Crown Estate awarded Moray Offshore development rights for offshore wind development in Zone 1 (Moray Firth).
Moray Offshore split the site into an Eastern and Western Development Area, and developed proposals for the Eastern Development area first, receiving consent from the Scottish Government for 1,116MW two years ago The company will open consultation later this month on proposals to develop the Western Development.
The combined two zones are capable of producing up to 1,500MW offshore wind generation in the Outer Moray Firth, generated by up to 200 turbines based on platform technology developed by the North Sea oil and gas sector in water up to 200-ft deep.
Dan Finch, Director of Offshore, EDPR – the Spanish-based renewable energy group which now owns Moray Offshore – said: “We worked hard to deliver a high-quality project in the Eastern Development Area, with no impediments to its construction.
“All that we need to proceed is a contract which will enable us to sell power in the reformed electricity market, and we look forward to the UK Government announcing the next ‘Contract for Difference’ (CfD) auction, which will allow us to compete for the contract which will let us deliver the project.
“In announcing proposals to develop the Western area of our site to maximise renewable energy generation, we aim create a pipeline of offshore wind projects in the Moray Firth, and associated opportunities for the local economy.
“Moray offshore received considerable support from local communities as we developed the Eastern Area of our site. We will be returning to those communities with events over the summer.”
The results of the last CFD auction were announced in February 2015. The UK Government has indicated that potentially three further auctions will be held within the lifetime of this UK Parliament. Moray Offshore is now examining the feasibility of development of its Western Development Area in the firth.
Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Energy Minister, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector and this consultation by EDPR is the next step in that process.
“We have always stated that to realise and harness Scotland’s offshore renewable wealth we must do so in a sustainable way, that ensures communities can also benefit from the new economic opportunities presented by this sector.”