Moray Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL) and the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL), together will be the world’s third largest offshore wind farm, with up to 326 wind turbines.
The developments, sited off the Caithness coast, will be capable of generating up to 1,866 MW of electricity, enough to power over one million homes, and will be worth up to £2.5 billion to the Scottish economy.
The consents are granted subject to strict conditions which will mitigate and monitor a range of potential impacts, including in relation to birds and other environmental considerations.
The developers have to undertake local, regional, and strategic bird monitoring and have to comply with a number of plans such as the Environmental Management Plan and the Operation and Maintenance Programme to ensure effective mitigation takes place.
Commenting on the announcement, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said: “Obviously, we would much prefer it if there was no interference in the traditional activities of our fishing fleet in harvesting a sustainable and much valued food resource. However, accepting that such developments are going to happen over the coming years, it is absolutely essential that the fishing industry continues to be fully consulted during the complicated planning and licensing processes so that the impact of offshore renewables on fishing is mitigated to an acceptable degree.
“Furthermore, it is essential that the Scottish government helps us more broadly in assessing the cumulative displacement of established sustainable use across all planned new marine developments.”