A fifteen-year contract for a planned offshore wind farm that has been serviced from Eyemouth’s port has been welcomed by the local community.
Renewable energy developer Mainstream secured the contract with the National Grid for the 448 megawatt Neart na Gaoithe wind farm.
Christine Bell, business manager at Eyemouth Harbour Trust, said this week: “The Eyemouth Harbour Trust team is delighted to hear today’s step changing news that Neart na Gaoithe has been awarded CfD [a ‘Contract for Difference’].
“Eyemouth harbour is one of the closest harbours to Neart na Gaoithe and we already have a track record of servicing early survey vessels working on the site.
“We’d like to congratulate David Sweenie and the team at Mainstream Renewable Power on this success and wish them well with the next steps in this exciting project.”
The congratulations were echoed by the Liberal Democrat MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, Michael Moore.
Mr Moore has been working with Eyemouth Harbour Trust, Scottish Borders Council and local businesses and fishermen to ensure that Eyemouth benefits from the economic opportunities provided by the development.
“Eyemouth is ideally placed to provide operations and maintenance support to the project with its deep water harbour and local fishing fleet.”
The development has been awarded a 15 year contract to supply electricity to the National Grid.
The 448 megawatt wind farm could generate power for 319,000 properties in the near future.
Commenting earlier this week, Mr Moore said: “It is great to hear that Neart na Gaoithe has been awarded this contract which secures funding for the project and will be a boost to our renewable energy supply here in Scotland.
“I have been working closely with local groups in Eyemouth to ensure that local businesses benefit from the economic opportunities presented by the development.
“Here in Eyemouth we are perfectly placed to provide the wind farm with operations and maintenance support and the awarding of this contract can give us greater confidence that the development will be a strong success.”
The wind farm, which was awarded planning consent in October 2014, is expected to be generating electricity and fully commissioned by 2020.
Mainstream will sign the CfD contract next month and will then proceed towards a Final Investment Decision in the first quarter of 2016.
Funding for the project is well advanced, as it is already pre-qualified for the Infrastructure UK Treasury Guarantee and the new €315bn European Fund for Strategic Investments.
Mainstream Renewable power currently has over 19,000MW of green energy in development, and 334MW in construction and operation.
The firm has worked with partners such as IKEA and other utilities and investment companies in the past.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, also welcomed the announcement, saying: “This world leading auction has delivered contracts for renewables projects right across the UK.”
Meanwhile Andy Kinsella, Chief Operating Officer for Mainstream Renewable Power, added: “Mainstream is delighted to have been awarded this contract today and we look forward to getting the wind farm construction-ready over the coming months in partnership with Siemens and GeoSea.
“What’s unique about this project is that it will be the first time a UK offshore wind farm of this scale will be built using project finance alone. Today’s announcement is the result of seven years of dedication and demonstrates Mainstream’s world-class expertise in project development, engineering and finance.”
This will be the first large-scale offshore wind farm constructed and operated in Scottish waters to be directly connected to the Scottish electricity system.
The 448 megawatt wind farm will have the capacity to deliver enough power for 325,000 homes (which is more than the number of homes in Edinburgh) and would be equal to 3.7 per cent of Scotland’s total electricity demand.
The wind farm will consist of up to 75 wind turbines and occupy an area of approximately 105 square kilometres. At its closest point to land it will lie over 15 kilometres off the Fife coast.