Peterhead is set to be home to one of the world’s largest renewable energy sources after plans for a wind farm was given the green light.
The Scottish Government granted a marine licence to Norwegian company Statoil to build the world’s largest floating offshore wind development off the coat of the Blue Toon.
The oil and gas company have proposed a pilot park of five floating, six-megawatt turbines that is expected to power up to 19,900 homes.
It will have a generating capacity of 135 GWh (gigawatt-hours) of electricity each year.
Hywind Scotland wind farm will be located approximately 25km off the coast of Peterhead.
Unlike conventional turbines, Hywind turbines will be attached to the seabed by a three-point mooring spread and anchoring system - which causes less disturbance to the seabed.
The turbines will be connected by an inter-array of cables and an export cable will transport electricity from the pilot park to the shore at Peterhead.
Statoil aim to begin onshore construction in 2015/16, and offshore construction in 2016/17. Final commissioning of the pilot park will be approximately 2017.
Deputy First Minister MSP John Swinney welcomed the development.
He said: “Hywind is a hugely exciting project - in terms of electricity generation and technology innovation - and it’s a real testament to our energy sector expertise and skilled workforce that Statoil chose Scotland for the world’s largest floating wind farm.
“The momentum is building around the potential for floating offshore wind technology to unlock deeper water sites.
“The ability to leverage existing infrastructure and supply chain capabilities from the offshore oil and gas industry create the ideal conditions to position Scotland as a world leader in floating wind technology.”
Councillor for Peterhead South and Cruden Stuart Pratt also praised the plans.
He said: “We welcome the scheme as it is a world leading project and hopefully there will be a sign off for jobs in the area.”
Maggie McGinlay, director of energy and clean technologies at Scottish Enterprise, supported the expansion of the renewable energy sector in the North East.
She said: “This announcement is fantastic news for Scotland’s renewable industry as a whole, but in particular our growing offshore wind supply chain. We’ve been working closely with our companies to directly link them with Statoil for some considerable time to ensure they are in the best position possible to take advantage of the significant opportunities such as this, both here and overseas.”
“This announcement is a clear indication that Scotland’s strengths in offshore wind are recognised at an international level, and we’ll continue to work closely with our supply chain to ensure they can capitalise on potential opportunities such as this, both here and oversea.”
Statoil’s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, Irene Rummelhoff, said: “Floating wind represents a new, significant and increasingly competitive renewable energy source. Statoil’s objective with developing this pilot park is to demonstrate a commercial, utility-scale floating wind solution, to further increase the global market potential. We are proud to develop this unique project in Scotland, in a region that has optimal wind conditions, a strong supply chain within oil and gas and supportive public policies.”