The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm is one of the largest and most expensive in Scottish infrastructure history.
Totalling £2.6 billion, SSE Renewables reported yesterday that upon completion the project came in £100 million under budget.
The project is a joint venture partnership between SSE Renewables (40%), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and Red Rock Power Limited (25%) with development, construction and now operation led by SSE Renewables.
Located eight miles off the Caithness coast, the wind farm is currently the fourth largest offshore wind farm in the world.
The project boss, Steven Wilson, described finishing the development virtually problem-free and under budget was “undoubtedly the proudest moment” of his career.
But in October last year the Moray Firth windfarm development came under fire over accusations of a contractor on the project shutting out UK workers in favour of “cheap foreign labour”.
Staff contracts indicated a number of non-EU nationals on Seaway Heavy Lifting’s (SHL’s) Stanislav Yudin crane vessel have been earning below the national minimum wage.
SSE quickly launched a review into pay practices by its contractors and subsidiaries and how the Modern Slavery Act 2015 was implemented on the wind project.
In February 2019, the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm board agreed to ‘opt-in’ to the SSE Modern Slavery Statement.
It will also seek formal Living Wage accreditation before the end of 2020.
Mr Wilson said: “Learning that people working for our contractors on the Beatrice project were being paid less than the UK national minimum wage was the low point of the entire project.
“It required a response that was decisive, founded on respect not just for the law but for the people working hard on behalf of our project.
“I believe our response was decisive and we have a clear ongoing commitment to fair pay.”