Royal presence at Beatrice official opening in Wick
PRINCE Charles will be in Caithness next week for the official opening of the £2.5 billion Beatrice offshore wind farm.
The prince, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, will visit the Beatrice offices at Wick harbour on Monday.
The 84-turbine wind farm, just off the Caithness coast, is the largest in Scotland and fourth largest in the world. It will generate enough energy to power 450,000 homes.
Around 1500 people were employed during the construction phase with companies from various parts of the country benefiting from the work. Wick-based GMR Henderson was involved in the restoration and development of the operations and maintenance base, part of a £20 million rejuvenation of the town's harbour front.
It included the redevelopment of 200-year old buildings designed by Thomas Telford which houses the base for the project.
Up to 90 employees – from offshore technicians to office administrators – will be based in the buildings, with most coming from the local area.
The towers for the wind farm were built at Machrahanish while the turbines were assembled at Nigg, with blade manufacture being carried out in Hull. Construction started in May 2016 and was completed in May this year on time and under budget.
Beatrice community benefit funds worth a total of £34 million have been established.
As part of the celebrations, members of the public will get a chance to take a look inside the Wick base next Wednesday. The public can meet members of the Beatrice team and tour an exhibition marking the completion of the project.
The premises will be open between 3pm and 7pm.
The 588 megawatt Beatrice project has been developed by renewable energy firm SSE Renewables, with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Red Rock Power Limited.