Consortium unveils Orkney offshore windfarm that could power 2m homes

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A CONSORTIUM has announced they are bidding to create a two-gigawatt offshore windfarm near Orkney.

The West of Orkney Windfarm – which has the potential to power two million homes – is currently being assessed by the Crown Estate Scotland.

Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, TotalEnergies and Scottish developer RIDG are working together on the project.

The consortium have been working on the plan for five years and have drawn up Memorandums of Understanding with Orkney Harbour Authority and Scrabster Harbour Trust.

Scrabster Harbour. Pic: Neil Davidson Limited

These are designed to enhance port infrastructure and position the area more competitively to support offshore wind projects.

An exclusive Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed with the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on Orkney.

The project is part of ScotWind, a programme to lease areas of the seabed around Scotland for renewable energy creation.

Stephen Kerr, Project Director of the West of Orkney Windfarm, said: “ScotWind has created the opportunity for a global industry to tap into Europe’s best wind resource.

“Our consortium believes that success will be driven by targeted proposals built upon strong local relationships.

“We have designed our bid specifically around this location and brought together a unique combination of stakeholders to maximise the opportunities for the region.”

Kerr added: “In particular, the upcoming round of offshore wind projects are a terrific opportunity for ports in Caithness and Orkney to win significant long-term contracts in the installation and operational phase of these major infrastructure schemes.”

Kerr said their agreements with Scrabster Harbour Trust and Orkney Harbour Authority will enable them to work together with a clear focus on long term delivery.

He said each port had its own specific capabilities and attributes, and on successful site award they have committed to fund collaborative design and supply studies and to invest where appropriate in improving each harbour’s infrastructure.

Kerr said: “We will apply a similar collaborative approach across the supply chain, working closely with Scottish and UK suppliers to deliver on climate targets and enhance local economies.”

Jim Buck, Harbourmaster for Orkney Harbour Authority, said: “As a location, Orkney offers a natural environment like no other, particularly Scapa Flow which is the second largest natural harbour in the world.

“Our masterplan embraces decarbonisation and a transition away from fossil fuels. It includes a range of infrastructure enhancements across key locations around the Orkney mainland, including a new deep-water facility in Scapa Flow, which will be crucial to us realising our ambition to deliver social and economic benefit from offshore wind energy.”

And Sandy Mackie, Scrabster Harbour Trust manager, said: “Offshore wind is a once in a generation opportunity for Scrabster Harbour to capitalise on its capability as an operations and maintenance base for a new fleet of offshore wind farms – which could create sustainable long-term skilled local jobs for decades ahead.”

The consortium has undertaken extensive site investigations, including birds, marine mammals and near-shore geophysical surveys, and has finalised a grid connection agreement with National Grid that will enable the project to commence generation in 2029.