Offshore wind farm is granted planning consent

Eyemouth Harbour is being considered as a service port for the North Sea  offshore wind farm off the Scottish coast
Eyemouth Harbour is being considered as a service port for the North Sea offshore wind farm off the Scottish coast

The pieces of the jigsaw that need to fit together see the Neart na Gaoithe offshore North Sea wind farm up and running are starting to fall into place.

Last week it was one of four Scottish North Sea offshore wind farms to be granted development consent.

Electricity from the 75 turbine offshore wind farm will come ashore at Thorntonloch near Torness Power Station and be carried by underground cable up to the electricity substation at Crystal Rig wind farm in the Lammermuirs where it will feed into the National Grid.

Planning consent for an extension to the Crystal Rig substation was granted by Scottish Borders Council in November last year and East Lothian Council also gave consent for the underground cable route in 2013.

However, there are land ownership issues regarding the cable route and a public inquiry is due to be held in Dunbar next week.

A spokesperson for developers Mainstream Renewable Power said: “Much of the land rights needed for the project have been secured through voluntary agreements with landowners; however, it has not been possible to secure all of the rights in this way.

“Consequently, Neart Na Gaoithe Offshore Wind Limited has applied for a compulsory purchase order to secure the remaining land rights needed to install this cable.”

Eyemouth Harbour Trust has been working hard to market the port for use as a base for the Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind companies and their contractors, which include survey companies, vessel operators and workboats for crew transfer, and news of the consent being given for the wind farm will give added impetus to their efforts to bring new business to the harbour.

Development consent for the four Scottish offshore wind farms has been described as “a massive leap forward for Scotland’s emerging offshore wind industry” by the renewables industry but a word of warning was given by Scottish Seabird Centre chief executive Tom Brock who is concerned about the risk of seabirds being killed by striking the blades of the turbine.

“When these windfarms are constructed, it must be done in a way which achieves maximum mitigation of the effect on Scotland’s precious seabirds such as puffins and gannets as well as other marine wildlife,” said Mr Brock.