The 588MW 84 turbine project, situated in the Outer Moray Firth, will be one of the largest private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure.
The project was consented by the Scottish Government in March 2014 and granted an Investment Contract by the UK Government in May 2014, but today’s decision signals the green light for manufacturing and construction to begin.
Work at the operations and maintenance facility in Wick and the transmission works in Moray will commence this year, offshore construction will begin next year, and the wind farm will become fully operational in 2019.
Beatrice is expected to bring a range of socio-economic benefits to the local, regional, Scottish and UK economies including job creation, skills training, investment in Scottish ports and harbours, supply chain opportunities and community benefit funding.
Paul Cooley, director of renewables at SSE, stated: “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.
“Contracts have already been placed with many UK based suppliers, and Siemens intend to undertake turbine blade construction from Siemens’ new manufacturing facility in Hull.
“Around £10m of investment is planned at Wick Harbour to house the wind farm’s operations and maintenance facilities and improving the existing RNLI facilities.
“We expect a peak of around 65 jobs during construction of the O and M base with around 90 long-term jobs anticipated during the operational phase.
“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.”
The wind farm is being developed with a tier 1 supply chain comprising Seaway Heavy Lifting, Subsea 7, Nexans and Siemens and is expected to deliver c. £680m into the UK and Scottish economy via employment and supply chain opportunities during the construction phase and c. £400m - £525m during the wind farm’s 25 year operational life.
Three supply chain events were held last year through SSE’s Open4Business procurement portal to engage with interested businesses and provide information on possible contracts.
Christina G. Sorensen, Senior Partner in CIP, said: “CIP’s investment in Beatrice represents one of the largest commitments from a financial sponsor to an offshore wind project, and follows our investment in the German offshore wind project Veja Mate in June 2015.
“CIP’s ambition is to be a proactive financial investor and project partner in the development, construction and operations phase.
“The project will deliver clean, green and affordable renewable energy based on a stable investment contract price and a 15 year inflation linked revenue stream.
“It’s a great project with very capable partners and SSE as the experienced operator, and we look forward to continue the cooperation in the many years to come.”