A high-tech buoy has been launched to monitor an offshore site off the Caithness coast ahead of a proposed giant wind farm.
The consortium behind the Stromar Floating Offshore Wind Farm has a seabed lease with Crown Estate Scotland which allows them to develop a site of up to 1GW, subject to permissions. The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm off the east coast of Caithness is 588MW.
The floating Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) buoy was launched on Friday and has now been deployed at the site, which is around 50km from Wick Harbour.
It will monitor accurate data over the next 12 months on wind speed and direction, ocean currents, tide, atmospheric pressure and air temperature, which the developers say will help inform the wind farm’s design.
Stromar project development director Nicholas Ritchie said: "This installation marks an important stage in the journey for Stromar and supports our ambition to bring a clean, green future to Scotland.
"The 1GW of renewable energy to be produced by Stromar could power more than 1 million homes, and the opportunities presented by the site help position Scotland as a leader in floating wind energy."
Stromar Offshore Wind is a 1GW floating offshore wind development joint venture consisting of Ørsted, Renantis and BlueFloat Energy. The name 'Stromar’ comes from a combination of the Scottish island of Stroma and the Gaelic word 'mar’ which means 'sea’.
It says it will invest billions of pounds into the Scottish supply chain over its lifetime and intends to work with schools, colleges and universities to train and reskill the workforce.
Stromar says it will focus on circularity, biodiversity and community. "This means that where possible, it will repurpose existing materials, ensure that nature is conserved and that communities will be at the heart of planning."