Updated: Massive new £2.6billion Beatrice windfarm gets go-ahead off Scottish coast

Offshore windfarm
Offshore windfarm

A consortium of developers led by SSE have committed the final investment decision for the 588MW 84-turbine Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland.

New windfarm expects to provide an average annual gross employment in Scotland of over 890 jobs during construction and is one of Scotland’s largest private infrastructure projects.

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

The consortium, SSE (40%), Copenhagen Investment Partners (35%) and SDIC Power of China (25%) – have given the go-ahead to the 84-turbine, £2.6bn project in the outer Moray Firth off Caithness.

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 an estinated £680m into the UK and Scottish economy via employment and supply chain opportunities during the construction phase and arything between £400m – £525m during the wind farm’s 25 year operational life.

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.

Siemens 7MW turbines will generate the power. Siemens has formed a consortium with Nexans to deliver the project’s grid connection work.

SSE director of renewables Paul Cooley 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 its new manufacturing facility in Hull.”
Wick will serve as the project’s O&M base.

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.

SSE expects a peak of around 65 jobs during construction of the O&M base with around 90 long-term jobs anticipated during the operational phase.

SHL/Subsea 7 have secured the EPCI contract at Beatrice worth more than $1.3bn.

The scope of work includes turbine foundation and array cable installation as well as the transport and installation of transmission modules.

The company will use heavylift vessels Stanislav Yudin and Oleg Strashnov on the job.

SHL chief executive Jan Willem van der Graaf said: “The Beatrice project is a major step forward in achieving our ambition to be a leading EPCI contractor in the offshore renewables industry.”

The project was consented by the Scottish Government in March 2014 and granted an Investment Contract by the UK Government in May 2014.