We recognise that offshore renewables offer Scotland an opportunity for significant economic growth, and in particular, to see some of our more remote and fragile communities reinvigorated. Scotland is home to around 25 per cent of the whole European offshore wind resource and Eastern Scotland, where much of the development is planned, is one of the windiest parts of the UK, according to Met Office data.
The Scottish Government has set an ambitious and challenging target to deliver at least the equivalent of 100% of our electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020. Offshore wind has an important part to play in helping us realise these ambitions. Exciting projects are planned for the waters around Scotland and the Highlands and Islands is well-placed to assist in the delivery of a dynamic offshore wind sector. The Highlands and Islands of Scotland is well placed to capture a significant share of the multi-billion pound offshore wind market, and with the UK being the world leader with over 3.6GW already installed, now is the time to seize the opportunity.
SSE confirmed in May 2016 that it will go ahead with its investment in the Beatrice Offshore Wind project. The project is expected to deliver billions of pounds of investment during construction, installation and longer-term operation and maintenance of the windfarm. It will create major opportunities for supply chain companies and could mean hundreds of long term, new jobs over the off-shore power plant’s 25 year lifetime.
With Wick confirmed as the operations and maintenance port for the development and Nigg Energy Port having signed a significant contract with Siemens as the installation and build out port, other ports such as Arnish, Invergordon and Buckie will be well placed to support installation, fabrication and marine services during the construction phase. CS Wind UK’s investment in Machrihanish is also poised to enable the plant to manufacture large scale offshore wind towers and maximise the opportunities in the offshore tower market. It is anticipated that SSE will be confirming a number of other supply chain contracts in the coming months and it’s hoped that other Scottish companies will benefit from these. Please visit https://www.sseopen4business-highlands.com/ to keep abreast of opportunities.
The Crown Estate has undertaken a number of leasing rounds for offshore wind in UK waters. E.ON’s fully commissioned 180MW wind site in the Solway Firth, Robin Rigg, was built under Round 1 and further leasing rounds in Scottish Territorial Waters and under Round 3 could see the construction of up to five further projects in Scotland. These will have a maximum capacity of up to 4GW – nearly half of which could be in the waters around the Highlands and Islands.
The world’s first deepwater offshore wind project has been operating close by the Round 3 Moray Firth Zone, some 15 miles off Caithness, in 45 metres of water.
The £29 million private/public Talisman Beatrice Windfarm demonstrator project has seen the design, construction, installation and operation of two 5 megawatt turbines, the world’s tallest at 234.5 metres from seabed to blade tip. Linked by subsea cable to the nearby Beatrice Alpha platform, they are generated 30% of the Beatrice Alpha oil platform’s 14MW daily electricity requirement.
Isleburn, a locally-based full-service engineering company and part of the Global Energy Group, assembled the turbines at Nigg, which is an industrial facility formerly famous for producing platforms for the oil and gas industry. The jacket foundations were provided by BiFab, and the towers were rolled at Arnish on the Isle of Lewis.