Green light for construction of £2.6 billion Beatrice offshore wind farm

The 588MW, 84 turbine project, situated in the Outer Moray Firth, was consented by the Scottish Government in March 2014 and granted an Investment Contract by the UK Government in May 2014. 

The project has now been approved for manufacturing and construction to begin.  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. The wind farm is expected to become fully operational in 2019.  

Beatrice is expected to bring a range of socio-economic benefits to the local, regional, Scottish and UK economies during both the construction and operational phases. Expected opportunities include job creation, skills training, investment in Scottish ports and harbours, supply chain opportunities and community benefit funding.

The project is expected to power roughly 450,000 homes; approximately three times the number of homes in the Moray and Highland regions

Paul Cooley, Director of Renewables at SSE, stated: “Contracts have already been placed with many UK based suppliers, and Siemens intend to undertake turbine blade construction from Siemen’s new manufacturing facility 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 O and M base with around 90 long-term jobs anticipated during the operational phase.”

The wind farm is being developed with a tier 1 supply chain comprising Seaway Heavy Lifting, Subsea 7, Nexans and Siemens and is expected to deliver approximately. £680 million into the UK and Scottish economy via employment and supply chain opportunities during the construction phase and around. £400 – £525 million during the wind farm’s 25 year operational life. Three supply chain events were held last year through SSE’s Open4Business procurement portal to engage with interested businesses and provide information on possible contracts.

Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation & 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.

“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.”

Ronnie Quinn, General Manager of The Crown Estate’s Scotland Portfolio – the business which manages leasing of the seabed and granted a lease for the Beatrice project – said: 

“It’s incredibly exciting to see this project given the final go ahead. Any offshore wind farm of this scale is a very complex development – putting the finance and final lease in place for Beatrice is a huge achievement that will result in investment and jobs at a local, regional and national level. We look forward to continuing to support the team.”

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