Green light for £2.6bn Beatrice offshore wind farm
- 84 turbines will provide 588MW of power once operational in 2019
- New windfarm expects to provide an average annual gross employment in Scotland of over 890 jobs during construction and is one of Scotland’s largest private infrastructure projects
- The project is expected to power roughly 450,000 homes; approximately three times the number of homes in the Moray and Highland regions
The £2.6bn Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) project has been given the green light for construction by owners SSE (40%), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) (35%) and SDIC Power (25%) after the project reached Financial Close. The project will be one of the largest private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure.
The 588MW, 84 turbine project, situated in the Outer Moray Firth, was consented by the Scottish Government in March 2014 and granted an Investment Contract by the UK Government in May 2014.
Today’s [23 May] 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 in 2017. The wind farm is expected to become fully operational in 2019.
Beatrice is expected to bring a range of socio-economic benefits to the local, regional, Scottish and UK economies during both the construction and operational phases. Expected opportunities include 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 Siemen’s 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 has a long track record in offshore wind and in accordance with our investment strategy, we decided to enter the project in the late development phase in November 2014. Thereby CIP has been able to actively engage in the sourcing strategy and contract execution where the fundamental risk profile of the project is decided.
“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.”
Yang Lin, at SDIC Power stated: “We are delighted to see the Financial Close for Beatrice. This milestone is achieved as a result of all parties’ dedication and collaboration. Beatrice is SDIC Power’s first exposure to the European offshore wind market, and we fully believe it has a promising future. We will continue to work closely with our partners and we expect Beatrice to contribute more to the region’s economy.”
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Amber Rudd said: “The UK is the world leader in offshore wind; and this industry, backed by the UK Government and benefiting from our access to the 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.”
Paul Wheelhouse, Minister for Business, Innovation & Energy in the Scottish Government, said: “This is great news for the industry and I congratulate the owners SSE, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and SDIC Power on achieving this significant milestone in the development of this multi-billion pound infrastructure project.
“The Beatrice Offshore Windfarm has the opportunity to deliver so much to Caithness and Scotland as a whole, in terms of employment and community benefit. Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do. Renewables are now Scotland’s biggest electricity generator, and nearly half of gross electricity consumption comes from renewables.
“Scotland is well on course to meet its interim renewables target and is delivering a strong contribution to global climate efforts. I look forward to this project contributing to our green energy mix.”
Ronnie Quinn, General Manager of The Crown Estate’s Scotland Portfolio - the business which manages leasing of the seabed and granted a lease for the Beatrice project - said:
“It’s incredibly exciting to see this project given the final go ahead. Any offshore wind farm of this scale is a very complex development - putting the finance and final lease in place for Beatrice is a huge achievement that will result in investment and jobs at a local, regional and national level. We look forward to continuing to support the team.”