SSE gives go-ahead for new £2.6bn Moray Firth windfarm

CGI of Beatrice wind farm, Moray Firth
CGI of Beatrice wind farm, Moray Firth

Perth-based utility giant SSE and its consortium partners have today confirmed that they will build a new 84-turbine offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth.

The £2.6 billion Beatrice project will provide 588-MW of power when completed in 2019 – sufficient power for 450,000 homes (and three times the actual number of households in the Moray and Highland regions).

Beatrice is expected to provide an average annual gross employment in Scotland of over 890 jobs during construction and will be one of Scotland’s largest private infrastructure projects.

Work at the operations and maintenance facility in Wick and the transmission works in Moray will commence this year. Offshore construction will begin in 2017.

Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resource and Beatrice is the first commercial offshore wind farm to reach this stage of development in Scottish waters

SSE owns 40% in Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd, while Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners hold 35% and SDIC Power has a 25% stake.

The wind farm is being developed with a supply chain comprising Seaway Heavy Lifting, Subsea 7, Nexans and Siemens and is expected to deliver around £680 million into the UK and Scottish economy via employment and supply chain opportunities during the construction phase and  between £400m – £525m during the wind farm’s 25 year operational life.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Energy Minister, commented: “This is great news for the industry and I congratulate the owners SSE, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and SDIC Power on achieving this significant milestone in the development of this multi-billion pound infrastructure project.  

“The Beatrice 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.

“Scotland is well on course to meet its interim renewables target and is delivering a strong contribution to global climate efforts. I look forward to this project contributing to our green energy mix.”

Paul Cooley, SSE Director of Renewables, stated: “Contracts have already been placed with many UK based suppliers, and Siemens intend to undertake turbine blade construction at its new factory in Hull. 

“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 operations and maintenance base with around 90 long-term jobs anticipated during the operational phase.

Scotland's Renewable Future conference - 26 May 2016

Learn about SCOTLAND’S RENEWABLE FUTURE  with MSPs Liam McArthur, Ross Thomson, and expert industry speakers –  26 May 2016 

“Today’s decision reaffirms our 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.”

Amber Rudd, British Energy Minister, commented: “The UK is the world leader in offshore wind; and this industry, backed by the UK Government and benefiting from our access to the EU single market, is a success story going from strength to strength.

“This project will provide home-grown clean energy boosting skills and creating jobs and financial security for working people and their families in Scotland, and across the UK.”

Christina Sorensen, Senior Partner in CIP, said: “This investment in Beatrice represents one of the largest commitments from a financial sponsor to an offshore wind project, and follows our investment in the German offshore wind project Veja Mate in June 2015.

“Our ambition is to be a proactive financial investor and project partner in the development, construction and operations phase. The project will deliver clean, green and affordable renewable energy based on a stable investment contract price and a 15-year inflation linked revenue stream.”

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