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Floating offshore wind farm planned off Dounreay site

By Alan Hendry

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Plans are being prepared for a floating offshore wind farm consisting of up to 10 turbines off the north coast at Dounreay.

The structures could be taller than those at the existing Beatrice offshore wind farm in the outer Moray Firth, and closer to the shore.

The development would be located around 10km from the Dounreay site, with an installed capacity of up 100 megawatts, and would be an update on the previous Dounreay Trì project.

The aim would be "to test and demonstrate a technology solution for floating offshore wind in Scotland", according to a briefing note seen by the John O'Groat Journal.

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.

The company behind the project is Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP), a Danish fund management business which has invested in a number of offshore wind projects around the world. It has a 35 per cent stake in Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd.

A fund managed by CIP is understood to be in the process of acquiring Dounreay Trì.

Floating offshore wind farms are suited to water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible.
Floating offshore wind farms are suited to water depths where fixed-foundation turbines are not feasible.

In July 2017 it was reported that Dounreay Trì – which had planned to build two 10 MW turbines six kilometres offshore as a demonstrator project – had run into financial difficulties. It had been managed by a subsidiary of Hexicon, a Swedish investment business.

A statement on the Hexicon website confirms that Dounreay Trì has been halted "and the project is currently on hold".

The new project would be located within the previously consented area, although an exact layout for the turbines has yet to be decided. A new application would be made.

CIP says it would partner with Hexicon to deliver the project.

The scheme would consist of six to 10 floating structures with an upper tip height expected to be in the region of 192-270m. The 84 Beatrice turbines with their fixed foundations, situated 13km off the east coast of Caithness, are 188m from sea level to blade tip.

A stakeholder engagement plan is being put together and CIP intends to engage with community councils in Caithness once a scoping report has been finalised.

At the time of going to press, CIP had not responded to requests for more information.

The briefing note, dated this month, says "the capabilities of the local supply chain will be considered with the aim of developing a strong local supply chain for floating wind in Scotland".

It says one or two export cables will connect the wind farm to onshore infrastructure, with landfall in the area between White Geos and the Dounreay site. The cable running from the landfall point to an electricity substation would be placed underground.

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