THERE was a chance for the public to have their say on plans for a new offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth when a drop-in consultation came to Buckie.
Ocean Winds’ Caledonia wind farm project took centre stage when the firm came to the Victoria Park Lounge on Thursday, November 10 to ask people for their views and suggestions. The event was the final one in a series of three consultations, the others taking place in Wick and Fraserburgh earlier that week.
The proposed wind farm sits adjacent to Ocean Winds’ Moray East, which came online last year, and the Moray West, which will be using Buckie Harbour as an Operations and Maintenance base once online.
The firm were delighted with the response from the public, said Ocean Winds Communications Manager for the UK Craig Milroy.
He said: "It’s been really positive, there was definitely an appetite for people to come along and discuss the project.
"Ocean Winds bring a lot of experience to the Caledonia wind farm project. As Caledonia sits at a similar water depth to Moray East, so we can use the same tried and trusted construction methods. This means it can be built and brought online more quickly. We currently have a nationwide shortage in generation capacity and high energy prices so getting Caledonia online more quickly is a huge plus.
"People were also keen to hear how the local supply chain can benefit from the opportunities arising from the construction of the wind farm for many years."
Mr Milroy went on to outline the next steps in the process which could see Caledonia producing electricity for the national grid by the end of the decade.
"After we draw the feedback from these consultations together, we’ve a wide range of surveys to undertake," he continued.
"We’ll then move to compile an Environmental Impact and Assessment Report, which will be published at the same time as our planning application. After about a year we’d expect to hear back from the consenting authorities and, all being well, we’d be starting construction in 2027."
The Caledonia offshore wind farm, a proposed project with a target 2GW capacity being developed in the Moray Firth,
Once fully commissioned – expected in 2030 – Caledonia will double the Moray Firth’s ability to supply low-cost, low-carbon electricity – with expected capacity meeting the average electricity needs of around two million homes. The site is rated for a maximum of 150 turbines although the final figure is likely to be lower than that.
A virtual consultation, which will remain open until the end of the year, is available at https://caledonia.virtual-engage.com/