Plans to build a £3bn wind farm in Scotland’s outer Moray Firth took a step forward yesterday, after its main developer, SSE, agreed to sell a stake in the project to fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
SSE announced it would reduce its ownership stake of Beatrice offshore wind farm from 75 per cent to 50 per cent, and that the remaining portion would be owned by CIP and exisiting partner Repsol Nuevas Energias UK.
The deal is designed to help the project reach financial close in 2016, given the large costs of developing the ambitious scheme nearly 14km off the Caithness coast. The move also reflects SSE’s decision earlier this year to “narrow significantly” its involvement in the offshore wind industry.
During the course of this year, the project has secured government consent and won an investment contract under UK government’s Final Investment Decision (FID) enabling round.
Brian McFarlane, project director for Beatrice, said the fresh investment would allow the scheme to progress.
“Whilst there is still a significant amount of work to be done, this latest milestone allows the project to continue progressing towards a Final Investment Decision in 2016,” he said. “We will be working closely with Repsol, CIP and our supply chain partners, to further reduce costs and refine the development and construction programme.”
The news was welcomed by Lindsay Leask, senior policy manager at trade association Scottish Renewables, who said it demonstrates the attractiveness of Scotland’s offshore wind industry to investors.
“All of the offshore wind developments planned for the Moray Firth have the potential to bring huge social, economic and environmental benefits to the north east, while those in the Forth and Tay offer similar opportunities for communities and businesses in those regions,” she said, adding that all commercial-scale offshore wind developments in Scotland have now received planning consent from Scottish ministers.