Ian Johnson, project manager for Red Rock Power, said yesterday that the Inch Cape wind project should be around the 70 turbine mark and that Chinese investment is an ‘enabler’ to getting Scottish projects off the ground.
Mr Johnson confirmed yesterday that the Inch Cape project, nine miles off the coast of Angus, was looking to be in the region of 70 turbines, but wouldn’t be pinned down on the exact number.
He said that although it was too early to be “fixed about it” and that the number of turbines will be dictated by the type of turbines chosen, that the company has a grid capacity that will dictate the number.
Mr Johnson said: “We’ve got a 700 megawatt grid capacity, so we’re looking at building between the 600 to 700 megawatt range. It very much depends on where we land, but we’re working at a base case around the 70 mark, but depending on which one we end up with it could be slightly higher, it could be slightly lower.”
Owned 100% by Red Rock Power, through Chinese investment by SDIC Power Holdings, Mr Johnson said that foreign investment had no impact on the project.
He said that foreign investment should be seen as an enabler to getting Scottish projects off the ground, adding jobs to the local economy.
He said: “I think the fact that that it is a foreign owner doesn’t make any difference to this project. There are many other projects based in the UK that have some form of European-wide or worldwide ownership, part-ownership. In terms of Chinese money, if that’s an enabler to projects going ahead then obviously then that would be a good thing for jobs and work in the industry in the wider sense.”
SDIC has also bankrolled 25% of the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm development, something Mr Johnson said has helped to move the offshore wind sector forward in Scotland.
He said: “Generally, Beatrice has been the enabler for the wave of these big projects and following on from that, Moray and Inch Cape, etc. It’s starting to form a core of projects which feels like there is an industry growing so I think without the investor there’s a significant amount of money that wouldn’t be there today.”
Asked whether the Scottish Government’s recent decision to call in the Inch Cape application unnecessarily politicised the project, Mr Johnson said. “The fact is that the government calling process doesn’t change how we engage with the community and the local councils. We are continuing discussing that planning application with the local councils and with parish councils and community councils, as if it hadn’t been called in.
“We just deal with the process. We’ve had some really good discussions with the community council. I think that we all get to a landing point that keeps everybody happy on how that site is used in the future.”
With developments such as the Mainstream Renewable Power owned Neart na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Farm recently selling off a majority share, Mr Johnson confirmed that Red Rock Power has no plans of relinquishing its ownership.
He said: “We are the owners; we have no intention of selling the project at all. There’s the usual project finance process to bring investment in, at some stage in the project, but as equity, we intend to be the sole equity all the way through and operate for 30 years.
“The owners are in this to develop a long-term presence and build up a European-wide renewable energy presence. They have no intention to develop and sell it, they want to own it.”