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MP praises Beatrice offshore wind farm in Commons

By Jean Gunn

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NORTH MP Jamie Stone has spoken in the House of Commons in praise of the Beatrice offshore wind farm.

He made his comments following the publication of a report on clean growth by the science and technology committee, which highlights that urgent Government action is needed to reverse the policy trend of cutbacks and slow progress in the deployment of low-carbon technologies.

Mr Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, highlighted the benefits of the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (Bowl) development which was officially opened this summer.

“Offshore renewable energy is a success story in my constituency," he said. "Can I ask what consideration has been given to the development of further sites where this might be appropriate around the British Isles?”

Norman Lamb, chairman of the science and technology committee, replied: “This is an enormous opportunity to help us decarbonise and it is clear from the evidence that we received that there is great opportunity to increase offshore wind around our shores.”

Beatrice, Scotland's largest offshore wind farm and the fourth largest in the world, was officially opened at the end of July by Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay.

Offshore construction began two years ago with the installation of fixed jacket foundations in waters up to 56m deep and 13km off the Caithness coast.

Within a 12-month period 84 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines were installed, which means that Beatrice is already generating enough energy to power 450,000 homes every year.

The UK Government hopes that by 2050 heating in homes will be fully decarbonised, which would require at least 15,000 houses transferring to a low-carbon heating system every week until 2050.

Speaking after his question in the Commons, Mr Stone said: “Beatrice offshore wind farm has been a huge boost to my constituency, and I am pleased the chair recognises the opportunities presented by offshore wind.

“Not only does the wind farm generate huge amounts of energy, it also creates local, skilled employment.

Beatrice offshore wind farm has been a huge boost to my constituency.

“We must build on the success of Beatrice wind farm and use it as a model for future offshore wind development around the UK.”

Following the opening of Bowl, Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables, said: "The most important benefit that Beatrice brings is its contribution towards the UK and Scotland’s efforts to combat climate change. Over the expected 25-year lifetime of the wind farm, Beatrice will save around 8m tonnes of harmful carbon emissions."

£2.5bn Beatrice offshore wind farm officially opened in Wick by Duke of Rothesay

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