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  By Martin Kelly
A windfarm that will generate enough electricity to power three quarters of a million homes has been given the go-ahead by Highland Council.
The project that will see 277 turbines installed on the seabed of the Moray Firth has been hailed by local politicians as the one that will "put the far north on the map" and turn the area into the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.

The turbines, which will cover 50 square miles, will be located in the Outer Moray Firth on the north-western point of the Smith Bank and are expected to generate more than three and a half times the amount of electricity needed by the Highlands.

The site is approximately 7 miles to the north-east of the world’s first deep water wind farm development, the two-turbine (10MW) Beatrice Demonstrator Project, and builds on the success of that project.

Local councillor Willie Mackay predicted a massive jobs boost after it emerged the construction alone would see a £25million injection into the Highland economy, and £313million for the Scottish economy.

"I am very excited about this," he said.  There are substantial opportunities for employment and wealth with developments like this.

"Saudi Arabia are world leaders in oil production and when you think of that country you think of wealth and the benefits that can come with substantial employment.  We have a huge untapped resource here and we could be world-leaders in offshore energy."

Another councillor, Alex MacLeod said: "The importance of getting this right cannot be overstated. This project will put the far north on the map as the place to invest in wind energy."

The project by Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited has yet to be approved by the Scottish Government.  Experts estimate that the construction, a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Repsol Nuevas Energias UK, could begin in 2015 with power coming ashore as early as 2018.

Richard Escott, head of offshore development for SSE Renewables, said: "The project represents a substantial investment in the region and will bring significant benefits to the local economy.  As we await final determination of the offshore element of the project, we will continue our open, ongoing engagement with the local community to ensure they are kept informed at every stage."

MEANWHILE, Evance Wind Turbines, the leading UK manufacturer of small wind turbines, has announced the opening of its new Scottish office in Glasgow.  After winning a number of corporate accounts, combined with growing private sales, Evance has increased investment in its business north of the border.  

"This is a very exciting time for us," commented Tim Sammon, Director of Evance Wind Turbines.

"Based in our new office we have a team dedicated to providing a high quality service to our Scottish customers, as well as additional support for our resellers."

With its proven reliability and efficiency in all weather conditions the Evance R9000 is the most popular small wind turbine in the UK.  Last year over 25% of R9000 installations were in Scotland - enabling home owners, farmers and communities escape fuel poverty and fix their electricity costs for 20 years.

"We are also seeing a growing interest in our small wind turbines from large businesses which incur massive energy costs and pay carbon tax.  As our R9000 turbine is small, it can be deployed quickly in multiples - unlike larger turbines - and generates a significant supply of energy, so immediately reduces a business, operating expense and locks down future energy costs," Mr Sammon added.


# clootie 2013-06-19 18:35
It's great news - what I cannot understand is the failure of my fellow Scots to see our full potential.

I was at Piper25 today in Aberdeen (AECC) and one display (HSE) is looking at field extensions of 100 years. The oil and gas energy still to be exploited could fund wave / hydro / wind and even geothermal. The engineering skill base development and being a renewable technology hub are real possibilities.

Please, please don't give this away for Westminster to waste. We are at a crossroads - Big money and envelopes via nuclear power and a dreadful legacy OR clean renewable energy and the re-industrialisati on of Scotland.
# Nautilus 2013-06-19 18:48
Do we have enough high loch capacity to store the electricity generated by the Moray Firth wind farm to prevent it being intermittent? We should start thinking about this now.
# cuckooshoe 2013-06-19 23:38
Seems they are needed for electric cars...

"The Prime Minister defended the Government’s renewable energy policy by suggesting that the country needed more wind farms to create electricity to power electric vehicles, which will replace petrol powered cars."
# Saoghal Eile 2013-06-19 19:08
Nautilis, we are looking at solutions to smooth the generation and demand sides of our energy puzzle. Scotland is doing more to move to a long term affordable energy solution than rUK which continues in its stalemate with the new nuclear build. The safety report on the proposed Hinkley C build that came out this week is frightening with the dedigners' laissez-faire attitude to safety.

Glasgow is looking at geothermal. More community heating systems the better as these can act as energy sinks/stores.

There is no one solution, it will be a mosaic of technologies and designs, hopefully with a diversification of ownership too.
# Abulhaq 2013-06-19 21:34
Foreign companies and foreign manufacturing...hasnt Scotland been here before? We need Scottish companies and Scottish manufacture. This technology is not rocket science why are we such sluggards in exploiting it. Besides the stuff we have plenty of, water, could well be a more environmemtally less ugly alternative in the form of hydro-electricity. The Norwegians use it , why not us.
# Saoghal Eile 2013-06-19 21:41
This is the direction rUK is heading. An extra £35B handed to the French state in the swipe of a pen.
# BRL 2013-06-19 23:38
The current cost of 1 megawatt hour is GBP 48, the forecast purchase price being chased by rUK will be GBP 80 - 85, but the French producer wants GBP 95 - 100 and it has been agreed by rUK that whatever the 30 year fixed unit cost is finally agreed to be, it will also be linked to inflation.

Do we know what the projected megawatt hour cost will be from renewable produced electricity? I would hazard a guess that it would be much less than the above. Any ideas?
# Alba4Eva 2013-06-20 02:30
Quoting Saoghal Eile:
This is the direction rUK is heading. An extra £35B handed to the French state in the swipe of a pen.

As if that story were not bad enough, no mention is made of who would pick up the massive de-commissioning costs or the exorbitant long term costs of storing the nuclear waste which would be produced.

Westminster is contaminated throughout by the nuclear lobby.
# ButeHouse 2013-06-19 22:26
There is no one solution, it will be a mosaic of technologies and designs, hopefully with a diversification of ownership too........very well put Saoghal Eile.

Great news for Scotland and the Highlands in particular which suffered more than most under the union and their lackeys in the Scottish lowlands.

VOTE YES and for MARK TODAY (Thursday))
# Davidhalley 2013-06-20 00:52
saoghal. thanks for the link. the UK government is going to get tied into a ridiculous price for their new EDF built reactors. But what do they care, the consumer is paying not them.
This government clearly have no idea how to run their power policy. We are on the verge of an enormous transition in energy tech, so why tie in to 35 year contracts for new versions of old technology, particularly when we all know the decommissioning will add 10's of billions to the cost/tax payer and prolong way beyond 35 years.
# Nautilus 2013-06-20 09:48
I think we’re all agreed that the capital costs of building, the decades of decommissioning and the management of nuclear waste prices nuclear out. Other things that should be considered are the CO2 given off by the limestone in the manufacture of the cement for the millions of tons of concrete required, and the potential dangers from either terrorist attack or extreme seismic or other event.
Problem with wind power is electricity production in times of low load and no production in times of high load. There was a proposal to lay undersea cables to Norway and use their high lakes for pump-storage of our electricity (as Scotland has insufficient capacity) to be fed back to us as hydro-electricity in peak periods. Has anyone heard any more about this?
How about burying elements deep down in high thermal capacity rocks for heat storage? The stored heat could then be used when required. Have there been any thoughts along these lines?
We can do it ourselves. Vote YES.
# jinglyjangly 2013-06-20 10:57
Re the hydro pump storage facilities Mr Salmond has mentioned in the past the case for an interconnector to Norway to use there massive hydro Schemes, we pump their water uphill when the wind is blowing and when its not we open the sluice gates in Norway - simples
# Lucas 2013-06-20 16:47
Could not surplus wind generated electricity be used to make hydrogen to fuel vehicles? And the case for an all-electric railway will be undeniably in a wind/wave/tidal electricity world.

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