High level backing for Broch windfarm plant

BIG news: Oscar Diaz, Julian Brown (MHI Vestas UK Country Manager), Paul Wheelhouse and Michael Murray at the announcement
BIG news: Oscar Diaz, Julian Brown (MHI Vestas UK Country Manager), Paul Wheelhouse and Michael Murray at the announcement

Scotland’s energy minister believes the decision to base the operations and maintenance centre for a major wind farm development in Fraserburgh is a “gilt-edged opportunity” for the town.

Paul Wheelhouse was speaking in the port Friday as Moray East revealed details of the new centre it will create.

A two storey building will be the home to crews working on the 100 turbine development in the Moray Firth.

The installation will be monitored 24 hours a day from Fraserburgh and will also be a specific berth to be used by ships going to out to the wind farm. It is expected to create a “significant” number of new jobs and construction could begin next year.

The £3 billion wind farm will be built about 24 miles off the coast and will create enough energy to power 40% of households in Scotland.

It one of the biggest infrastructure projects and the cost is double that of the Queensferry Crossing.

Mr Wheelhouse was in Fraserburgh to be given a full briefing on the plans by bosses for Moray East.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “This part of the world is developing a supply chain – a real supply chain – which can help support developers like Moray East.

“A town like Fraserburgh obviously has a proud tradition in the fishing sector and I know partners want to develop the tourism sector as well.

“So it is not just about offshore wind, but I think it is a gilt-edged opportunity for the town and I am delighted it has come here.”

Michael Murray, convener of Fraserburgh Harbour, said the project tied in with their aims to boost the facility.

Mr Murray said: “It is great for everyone in Fraserburgh and if we can grasp this opportunity then the incomes streams and jobs that can be developed will be great.

“We are predominately a fishing port and we always will be, but now with offshore wind basing itself in Fraserburgh it is a brand new income stream for us which will allow us to develop in the future.

“We have a masterplan that will be finished in November that will look at where the port can be developed.

“One of the potential income streams in that was offshore wind so we have ticked off one of those before the report even lands on our desks.”

Oscar Diaz, project director for Moray East said: “Moray East is a major new generation project, providing low cost, low carbon power to meet the needs of 40 per cent of Scotland’s households and Fraserburgh Harbour will become the key onshore hub for that facility.”

As part of the Moray East development, a new body has been set up so businesses in the north-east can benefit from the development.

The Fraserburgh Local Alliance with Moray East (FLAME) is a group made up of the developer, Aberdeenshire Council, NesCol in Fraserburgh and the harbour board.