It is among the windiest countries in Europe where 100mph gusts regularly
batter the coastline, making it the ideal place to harness the power of
Now it has been announced that the Moray Firth will be home to a new
multi-billion pound windfarm which will provide almost a million homes with
electricity by 2022.
The site, which is 25 miles from the Caithness coast, will initially have
100 turbines, adding to the already substantial amount of renewable energy
which Scotland produces.
And the project, which has been in development since 2010, will generate
enough power to meet the energy requirements for 950,000 households – the
equivalent of 38 per cent of Scottish homes.
Stretching over almost 300 square kilometers and estimated to cost up to £3
billion, it will be one of the largest and most powerful offshore windfarms
in the UK.
Since being given the go-ahead it is now one of several windfarms part of
the ‘Round 3’ initiative, which is the biggest offshore wind programme in
Eventually, the huge array, which is being developed in three separate
stages, will have around 370 turbines, producing enough power for more than
three million homes.
Moray East Board Director Dan Finch said: “Moray East marks a major
milestone in the progress of the offshore wind industry.
“Not only will it deliver plentiful, sustainable, renewable power, it will
do so at a highly competitive price – to the economic advantage of both the
household and the country.
“Offshore windfarms pay rent for the use of the sea bed – and last week we
made our first payment of £6m to The Crown Estate (Scotland) – so the
country is already benefitting before we have even produced a single unit
“Last month we announced The Port of Cromarty Firth will be used as the
project’s intermediate port during construction, and in the long term, we
announced in summer that Fraserburgh will be the operations and maintenance
base for the lifetime of the windfarm.
“Throughout the development process we have worked with local and national
stakeholders to enable advantage to be taken of the new opportunities
brought by offshore wind.
“We are grateful to all those who have engaged with us to take the project
to this point and look forward to continuing to work with them through the
construction, delivery and operation which will enable those opportunities
to be realised.”
The project is expected to create hundreds of jobs across Scotland, with
most of those focused around Fraserburgh in Aberdeenshire and Cromarty.
The turbines will be built by Danish firm Vesta, with maintenance yards at
Cromarty and Fraserburgh.
In addition to jobs and opportunities for local companies during
construction, many of the jobs will remain for the maintenance of the huge
Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson said: “Fraserburgh will
make a fantastic location as the operations and maintenance base for this
“The North-East has become a leader in the development of offshore wind
from the Moray East project to a number of others in the area.
“Scotland is working hard towards its goal of being a low-carbon economy
and improving emissions levels to help in our fight against climate change.
“Investment in the local area will bring a welcome boost to the local
economy and I look forward the project’s completion in the future.”
It is not the first windfarm to be built in the Moray Firth.
The newly announced scheme comes after the ‘Beatrice’ wind farm, which is
due to start operating next year, becoming Scotland’s largest offshore wind
Since 2010 with the completion of Scotland’s first offshore wind farm, at
the Solway Firth, the country has continued to expand its renewable energy
initiatives such as tidal and solar power.
The Scottish Government is aiming to have renewable sources to generate 100
per cent of its electricity by 2020.
Ministers maintain that they are ‘on track’ for this target after the
nation got more than two-thirds – 68.1 percent – of its electricity from
green schemes last year.
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said the massive scheme would
help create the “green-collar jobs of the future”.
“The UK is a world leader in the offshore wind sector, creating the right
environment to attract inward investment from forward-thinking firms to
boost local jobs and growth and create clean, green energy,” she said.
“I now look forward to seeing even further growth in the sector as we
tackle climate change, implement our modern Industrial Strategy and create
the green-collar jobs of the future through our upcoming ambitious offshore
wind sector deal.”