Beatrice boost to UK net zero ambition

The call from the streets for bolder, faster and more decisive action in the fight against climate change hasn’t gone unnoticed.

At the beginning of May the Climate Change Committee laid down a clear target of the UK achieving net zero GHG by 2050. Whilst the UK recently went a full week without coal for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.

Those in offshore wind know that the technology stands willing and able to deliver the clean green energy to hit that target and fill those gaps.

Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, which was completed on time and under budget after three years of construction, is now helping to do just that.

The last turbine of the project, which is the largest of its kind in Scotland, was commissioned today (15 May) following installation yesterday.

Each of the 84 Siemens Gamesa turbines sits in ideal North Sea conditions, 13km off the shore of the coast of Caithness, atop the deepest water fixed foundations of any wind farm in the world, installed in water depths of over 56m.

Taller than the London Eye the 188m turbines (from sea level to blade tip), which have a total capacity of 588MW can provide enough energy to power more than 450,000 homes and will play a significant part in the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Whilst the contribution to the quest for decarbonisation is apparent, the knock-on effect of securing new jobs and growth for the local and wider UK economy is also clear.

Beatrice is supported by the community in Wick, bringing much needed jobs and investment.

The project will be operated and maintained by SSE Renewables (40% owners) on behalf of the other project owners, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and Red Rock Power Limited (25%) from a new base in the town.

With a total investment of more than £20m redeveloping the harbour front, including two 200-year-old Thomas Telford buildings, the base will soon become home to around 90 long-term members of staff.

For the wider economy, at £2.6bn Beatrice is the largest single private investment in Scotland.

The project has worked to maximise the opportunity for economic benefits and contracts were placed with companies and businesses across the supply chain resulting in over £1.1bn construction spend in the UK and around half of this in Scotland.

This included CS Wind’s Machrihanish factory for turbine towers, Global Energy Group’s Nigg Energy Park for turbine assembly, Bi-Fab in Fife and on Lewis for jacket foundations and piles, JDR Cables in Hartlepool for array cables, Babcock Marine in Rosyth for the Offshore Transformer Module topsides and Siemens Gamesa in Hull for blade manufacturing.

Learning from Beatrice will be developed and applied to our pipeline of over 7GW of offshore wind projects across the UK and Ireland furthering us along the road to a zero-carbon world.

About the author

Jim Smith Managing Director, Renewables

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