Scottish offshore wind farms 'under threat' warning as major project reaches pivotal moment
The alert comes after it emerged this week that work was being halted on one of the UK’s largest offshore wind farm projects after its developer said it no longer made financial sense to continue at this time. Swedish group Vattenfall said it was shutting down development of the Norfolk Boreas scheme off the coast of Norfolk. Two other sites, known as Vanguard East and Vanguard West, are also to be reviewed.
Chief executive Anna Borg said: “Conditions are extremely challenging across the whole industry right now, with a supply chain squeeze, increasing prices and cost of capital, and fiscal frameworks not reflecting current market realities.”
Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “[The] announcement from Vattenfall is a major wake up call for the UK government who are failing to take account of the increased cost pressures and economic challenges facing offshore wind developers. If projects in England are pausing development because they are not commercially viable then the projects that we have here in Scotland, which are more expensive to operate than those elsewhere in the country, are under threat and are clearly even more vulnerable to these cost pressures.”
Meanwhile, the developers behind a major wind farm in the outer Forth Estuary have hailed a “pivotal moment” with the installation of the project’s first giant wind turbine.
The turbine, with a tip height of more than 200 metres, was installed at Neart na Gaoithe (NnG) - meaning “strength of the wind” - by Siemens Gamesa using a specialist jack-up wind turbine construction vessel. Once commissioned, this will be the first NnG wind turbine to generate green electricity for the National Grid. Its eight megawatts of power will be sent via the subsea inter-array cable to an offshore substation then onwards to shore via a subsea export cable to Thorntonloch Beach, where the underground onshore export cable will transmit its power to the grid.
The turbine’s journey to site began in the Port of Dundee when its component parts were loaded, alongside those of three further turbines, onto the construction vessel, Blue Tern. NnG, which is owned by EDF Renewables UK and ESB, will ultimately supply sufficient low carbon electricity for some 375,000 homes and has a capacity of around 450 megawatts. The project is due to be fully operational in 2024.
Project director Matthias Haag said: “This is truly a pivotal moment for the NnG offshore wind farm. The construction of the first NnG wind turbine was a momentous sight. It’s a great achievement for our team and our contractors and we’ve taken a massive step towards our goal of generating 450MW of clean, green energy and helping Scotland achieve its net zero targets.”
David Webster, director of energy at Forth Ports, added: “The Port of Dundee has demonstrated that Scotland can build world class port infrastructure to support the delivery of major offshore wind farms. Working with the NnG and Siemens Gamesa teams we have delivered the first turbine to a remarkable project that will not only deliver green energy but has also been a catalyst for local supply chain development and industry collaboration.”
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