Successfully delivering Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm

The completion of turbine installation on the 588MW Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm last week was the culmination of 10 years of work by SSE Renewables and our partners to develop, finance and construct the project.

We’ve completed the largest offshore wind farm in Scotland, and currently the fourth largest in the world, on time and below budget. Getting Beatrice to this point has been a journey of discovery and innovation for everyone involved in the project.

Beatrice has some of the best wind resource available in the UK, however it is also located in deep water, in an environmentally sensitive location and over 90km from its point of connection for grid access, the Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks substation in Blackhillock.

These factors presented a number of engineering, consenting and commercial challenges which the project team have had to overcome to successfully develop and deliver the project.

The team has had to push the boundaries of available technologies and continually innovate in order to create a business case which was both ‘bankable’ with prospective lenders, but ultimately deliverable for the shareholders.
By taking this approach, Beatrice has laid the foundations for our future projects to develop competitive business cases and ultimately successful bids in the forthcoming CfD auction, with key learnings around:

• The application of innovative technical solutions during project development to reduce cost, whilst minimising delivery risk in project execution;

• Implementing financing structures which will enable projects to be suitably ‘financially engineered’ in order to support a viable business case;

• Development of strong relationships with both the UK and global supply chain to support project cost reduction and de-risking project delivery; and

• The development of highly skilled project teams and effective project management arrangements.

The ability to overcome the challenges by continually innovating and effectively manage risks during construction of the wind farm have only been possible due to the capability of the project team.

Through the successful delivery of a project such as Beatrice, we now have an industry leading capability within SSE Renewables to execute complex major infrastructure projects that we can continue to employ and further develop over the coming years on future projects in our renewables portfolio.

About the author

Steve Wilson BOWL Project Director

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