The estimated £680million boost the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) development will deliver for the national economy has been highlighted during a UK minister’s visit to one of the project’s key locations.
Lord Dunlop, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, toured the facilities at Nigg Energy Park and met representatives of BOWL during a visit to the Highlands and islands this week.
The energy park and the Port of Nigg will be the main location for offshore construction and marshalling works for the £2.6billion windfarm, under a recently-signed agreement between the sites’s owners, Global Energy Group (GEG) and turbine suppliers, Siemens.
A joint venture by SSE, with a 40% share, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and Chinese power generation company SDIC (25%) the 588MW, 84-turbine wind farm, in the Moray Firth, is due to be operational in 2019.
The minister was briefed on the project by representatives of BOWL and Global during his visit to the energy park at the entrance to the Cromarty Firth.
Paul Cooley, director of generation development at SSE, said: “We were delighted to welcome Lord Dunlop to Nigg Energy Park which will play a vital role in delivering Beatrice.
“The project will provide almost 900 jobs and up to £680million of UK contracts 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 Beatrice will play its part in investing in the critical energy infrastructure we all need.”
Lord Dunlop said the new windfarm would be a major boost for the Scottish and UK economy.
He added: “I was really pleased to have the opportunity to visit the Port of Nigg site. The Beatrice offshore wind farm will make a huge contribution to the country’s energy needs, as well as driving technological developments in clean energy.
“The site is also an important local employer, offering skilled jobs in a remote part of Scotland.”
Global’s business development director for renewables, Stephen Thompson said: “With over £45million invested in Nigg, with additional deep water quayside space, large fabrication facilities and lay down areas, Lord Dunlop was able to see we havethe expertise in our people and world class facilitiesto support SSE and Siemens in the BOWL project and with any other opportunities to support the emerging renewables industry.”
The Beatrice project was given the green light for construction in May. A number of significant contracts with UK suppliers have been announced since then.
Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) will manufacture 26 offshore jacket substructures, using its sites at Arnish, on the Isle of Lewis and Burntisland and Methil, in Fife.
Work for the grid connection at Blackhillock, near Keith, in Moray, has already started, with construction of the operations and maintenance facility in Wick due to get under way in the coming months. Offshore construction will begin in 2017.