The Beatrice windfarm has won the European Investment Bank’s (EIB’s) single largest investment in an offshore wind project. The EIB is providing £525 million for construction of the project to be built 14km off the Caithness coast.
The 19-year long-term European Investment Bank loan will support more than £2.7 billion of overall investment. Part of the European Investment Bank loan will be guaranteed under the new European Fund for Strategic Investments, intended to bring in €315 billion of new investment across Europe.
“We are delighted that Beatrice has achieved financial close and we are extremely grateful for all of the support received throughout the development of the project from stakeholders such as the Scottish Government, DECC, HIE, the Highland Council, Moray Council and local communities,” said Paul Cooley, director of renewables at SSE.
He added, “Around £10 million of investment is planned at Wick Harbour to house the wind farm’s operations and maintenance facilities and improving the existing RNLI facilities. We expect a peak of around 65 jobs during construction of the operations and baintenance base with around 90 long-term jobs anticipated during the operational phase.”
Siemens is to supply, install and commission 84 wind turbines for the project. The 7MW turbines will have rotors 154m in diameter and will be manufactured in Hull.
Siemens will also deliver the onshore and offshore substations, while Nexans will supply the connecting export cables.
Beatrice Offshore Windfarm is a partnership between SSE (40%), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and SDIC Power (25%).The offshore wind farm will have a total capacity of 588MW.
Siemens also has a service contract for the wind farm for 15 years.
Responding to the final investment decision for the project, RenewableUK noted that the UK now has more than 10GW of offshore wind capacity operating, under construction or with final investment decisions taken. It said offshore wind currently meets 5% of the UK’s electricity demand. “With 5.1GW operational, 0.8GW being built and 4.3GW having reached FID, offshore wind is set to provide 10% of the UK’s electricity needs by 2020.”