UK offshore wind capacity hits 10GW as £2.6bn Beatrice project receives green light

The construction of the £2.6bn Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland has been given the green light by developers SSE, as the UK looks to secure 10% of its electricity needs by 2020 from the offshore wind sector.

Construction of the offshore windfarm, situated in the Outer Moray Firth, will now commence in 2017 after SSE – alongside developers Copenhagen Infrastructucture Partners (CIP) and SDIC Power – received a Final Investment Decision (FID) today (23 May).

As one of the largest private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure, the 588MW, 84 turbine development is expected to power roughly 450,000 households once operational in 2019 and generate £680m for the UK economy through employment and supply chain opportunities.

SSE’s 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.

“Today’s decision reaffirms SSE’s commitment to offshore wind 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 SSE will continue to play its part in investing in the critical energy infrastructure the country needs to power homes across the UK both today and in the future.”

‘Success story’

The positive outcome for Beatrice could see the UK secure 10% of its electricity needs by 2020 from the offshore wind sector, according to industry body RenewableUK. In total, Britain now has more than 10GW of offshore wind capacity either operating, under construction or with FID’s taken. RenewableUK expects that 10GW will power the equivalent of more than a quarter of UK households a year – more than 7.5m homes.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd commented: “The UK is the world leader in offshore wind; and this industry, backed by the UK Government and benefiting from our access to the European Union (EU) single market, is a success story going from strength to strength.

“This project will provide home-grown clean energy boosting skills and creating jobs and financial security for working people and their families in Scotland, and across the UK.”

Offshore funds

The future of UK offshore wind has received a significant boost due to a recent surge of investment from companies recognising the industry’s existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities.

In February, it was announced that the world’s largest offshore wind farm is to be built 75 miles off the coast of Yorkshire, after Dong Energy made a FID on Hornsea Project One.

Norwegian fossil fuel giant Statoil revealed it is piloting an innovative battery storage system for offshore wind energy on the world’s first floating wind farm – the Hywind park off the coast of Aberdeenshire in Scotland. The Scottish Government granted consent for the Hywind 30MW offshore wind farm to be developed off the coast of Peterhead at the end of last year.

George Ogleby

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