A VITAL INVESTMENT in offshore wind energy should see more jobs created throughout Moray and the Highlands.
SSE have said they have concluded financial arrangements for the construction phase of the £2.6billion Beartrice Offshore Windfarm (Bowl) project on the outer Moray Firth.
When fully operation, which is expected by 2019, the 84-turbine installation is expected to generate as much as 588MW of power.
Consent for the project was granted by the Scottish Government over two years ago with contracts signed in May 2014 – now construction will begin at the start of 2017.
The move was last night welcome by Moray’s MP Angus Robertson, who said: “The news that the first major offshore project in the Moray Firth has passed the final hurdle and has the final green light is great for the economies of Moray, the wider North East of Scotland and the Highlands.
“Moray is well placed to see some of the economic benefits of this multi-billion renewables projects which will support skilled jobs and more work for downstream suppliers.
“With further multi-billion projects in the pipeline for the Moray Firth the future for our harbours and for skills transfer from the Oil & Gas sector, which generates spend in our local economy, is very positive.”
While it was hoped there might be an immediate benefit for Buckie Harbour, the initial shipping of equipment, turbines and construction workers will actually take place from Wick.
Some conservation groups have always expressed concerns on the knock-on effect for marine life in the region, however, WWF Scotland have said that in their view the scheme will actually help in tackling climate change.