The £2.6 billion Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project in Scotland’s Outer Moray Firth has been given the green light for construction by owners SSE, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and SDIC Power.
The project will be one of the largest private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure.
The 588MW, 84 turbine project was consented by the Scottish Government in March 2014 and granted an Investment Contract by the UK Government in May 2014.
Work at the operations and maintenance facility in Wick and the transmission works in Moray will start this year.
Offshore construction will begin in 2017 and the wind farm is expected to become fully operational in 2019.
SSE said Beatrice is expected to bring a range of socio-economic benefits to the local, regional, Scottish and UK economies during the construction and operational phases.
Paul Cooley, Director of Renewables at SSE, said: “We are delighted that Beatrice has achieved Financial Close and we are extremely grateful for all of the support received throughout the development of the project from stakeholders such as the Scottish Government, DECC, HIE, the Highland Council, Moray Council and local communities.
“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 £10 million of investment is planned at Wick Harbour to house the wind farm’s operations and maintenance facilities and improving the existing RNLI facilities …
“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.”
Christina Sorensen, Senior Partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, said: “CIP’s 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.
“CIP has a long track record in offshore wind and in accordance with our investment strategy, we decided to enter the project in the late development phase in November 2014.
“Thereby CIP has been able to actively engage in the sourcing strategy and contract execution where the fundamental risk profile of the project is decided.
“CIP’s 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.
“It’s a great project with very capable partners and SSE as the experienced operator, and we look forward to continue the cooperation in the many years to come.”
UK Secretary of State for energy and climate change Amber Rudd said: “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.”