Mainstream offshore wind farm project gets greenlight from Scottish ministers

Dublin-based wind and solar firm Mainstream Renewable Power has received the green light from Scottish Ministers to build and operate the offshore 450 MW Neart na Gaoithie wind farm in the Outer Forth Estuary in the North Sea.

The wind farm will be the first offshore one to be built in Scottish waters and directly connected to Scotland’s electricity system.

The Neart na Gaoithie (NnG) wind farm will deliver enough power to supply 325,000 homes with electricity, i.e. more than all the households in Edinburgh, which is equivalent to 3.7% of the Scotland’s total electricity requirements.

Preconstruction activities are planned to begin in 2015, and electricity generation in 2018.


Neart na Gaoithie wind farmThe Neart na Gaoithie wind farm turbines will be 197 meters high (Photo: Mainstream Renewable Power).

The NgN project, which is estimated to cost about £1.5 billion ($2.41 billion) to complete, will become the first offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom to attract true non-recourse project finance at the construction stage, the company said. It will receive Infrastructure UK Treasury Guarantee grants as well as European Investment Bank funding. The European Investment Bank helps finance projects within the European Union. It is the world’s largest public lending institution.

NnG will consists of up to 75 wind turbines covering an area of about 80 square kilometers (30.88 square miles).

Mainstream says the NnG project will create hundreds of direct and indirect jobs while it is being built and also throughout its operational life.

The wind turbine foundations will be designed, supplied and installed by GeoSea, while the electrical works will be designed, supplied and installed by the STDL/Prysmian consortium.

A milestone for Scottish energy

Founder and CEO of Mainstream Renewable Power, Eddie O’Connor, said:

“Today’s announcement is of particular importance for Scotland because it is the first time a wind farm will be built in Scottish waters with the purpose of supplying Scottish homes and businesses with renewable energy. In fact, it will generate enough green power to supply more than all the homes in Edinburgh.”

Mainstream’s Chief Operating Officer, Andy Kinsella, said:

“This is of major significance to the global offshore wind industry because it is on track to be the first time an offshore wind farm of this scale will be built using project finance alone by a private company. It is testament to the world-leading expertise of Mainstream’s offshore development team who have been working on this project since the company was founded in 2008 and further underpins Mainstream’s position as the world’s leading independent offshore wind developer.”

“We have worked closely with the Scottish Government and its agencies through an exhaustive environmental assessment process, and look forward to continuing our best-in-class ecological monitoring work with those agencies and other key stakeholders during and after construction.”

Approval was also given to EDP Renewables UK’s 800 megawatt Cape project, plus the 525 megawatt Seagreen Alpha and 525 megawatt Seagreen Bravo wind farms being constructed by SSE and Fluor.

The United Kingdom has a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80+% from 1990 levels by the middle of this century.

On Friday, the European Commission approved the £24.5 billion ($39.36 billion) Hinkley Point C nuclear plant project, to be built near Bridgwater in Somerset, England.