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Dounreay floating wind farm plan 'exciting' says Caithness business chief

By Gordon Calder

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A CAITHNESS business chief has described plans to build a floating wind farm off the Dounreay coast as “an exciting development.”

Trudy Morris, the chief executive of the Caithness Chamber of Commerce, would be “very pleased” to see the project go ahead.

It would be led by Highland Wind Limited and backed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) – a Danish fund management company which has invested in a number of offshore wind projects around the world and had a 35 per cent stake in Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd.

Between six and 10 floating turbines will be installed six kilometres north-west of Dounreay if the plan led by Highland Wind Limited goes ahead.
Between six and 10 floating turbines will be installed six kilometres north-west of Dounreay if the plan led by Highland Wind Limited goes ahead.

The development would have an installed capacity of up to 100 megawatts and be an update on the earlier Dounreay Trì project. It was managed by a subsidiary of Hexicon, a Swedish investment business and planned to build two 10 MW turbines six kilometres offshore as a demonstrator project but encountered financial difficulties.

CIP is now planning to breathe new life into the idea with the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm (PEOWF) which would share the same location as Dounreay Tri. It was given consent and a site lease four years ago.

The new project would consist of between six and 10 floating turbines around six kilometres north-west of Dounreay and have a maximum blade-tip height of 270 metres. The aim of the project is to test and demonstrate a technology solution for floating offshore wind in Scotland.

Ms Morris said: “Floating offshore wind is an exciting development in renewable energy generation, with the potential to unlock further capacity in areas otherwise unsuited to the fixed-bottom offshore wind technologies currently available.

“The north Highlands already has a strong and proven track record in supporting and servicing offshore wind developments, and it is clear that this has the potential to be a major driver of the region’s economy in years to come. For the region to play host to innovative developments such as this project will stand it in good stead for the future and help the local supply chain to build further expertise in the sector.”

The design life of the turbines is expected to be at least 25 years. The structures would be taller than those at the Beatrice offshore wind farm, 13km off the east coast of Caithness. Its 84 turbines with their fixed foundations, are 188metres from sea level to blade tip.

A floating offshore wind turbine is mounted on a structure that allows it to generate electricity in water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible.

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