Download the Invest Caithness Renewables Services Directory (PDF).
Opportunities in marine energy
In July 2015 Atlantis Resources Ltd purchased Marine Current Turbines and acquired the Brough Ness tidal site off South Ronaldsay. In December 2015 Atlantis and ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) joined forces with Atlantis’s Scottish project development vehicle Tidal Power Scotland Ltd (TPSL) acquiring SPR’s portfolio in exchange for a 6% shareholding.
This included the acquisition of the 100MW site at Ness of Duncansby. Atlantis is also an 86% shareholder in the MeyGen Inner Sound project.
MeyGen is the world’s largest tidal stream project currently under construction.
After a very successful 2015 onshore and onshore construction campaign, the project is set to deliver clean, reliable, predictable tidal power to Scotland by summer 2017.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing visited the MeyGen project onshore site at Ness of Quoys, to witness first-hand the onshore and oshore construction works taking place, and spoke to the infrastructure team on the ground about the engineering aspects of this visionary marine project.
Commenting on his visit, Fergus Ewing said: “This is an exciting, rst-of-a-kind project. I am pleased to be here in Caithness to meet the team and see how the onshore construction works are progressing.
“I am heartened to see the involvement of home-grown companies including JGC, Global Energy Group, John Gunn & Sons Ltd, James Fisher and Leask Marine, and I very much hope there will be further opportunities for the Scottish supply chain. When fully operational this tidal stream array could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 175,000 homes.”
An agreement has been reached between the MeyGen project and a nearby wind farm development to facilitate access to the distribution grid for other renewable energy projects.
The first phase of the MeyGen project was recently connected to the 33kV Ness of Quoys distribution network. The part of the distribution network to which MeyGen is now connected is constrained, such that there is no additional capacity for other generators until wider transmission upgrade works are completed over the next few years.
However, as a result of the predictable and cyclical nature of tidal generation, there is a unique opportunity for other energy projects to gain access to the grid at those times when the MeyGen project is not generating at maximum output, thus facilitating increased generation in the near term from the area’s rich renewable resources.
Lochend Wind Energy Limited (“Lochend”) is developing a 4 turbine wind farm close to MeyGen’s onshore site in Caithness, and Lochend has reached agreement with MeyGen to allow these wind turbines to deliver electricity to the grid whenever the MeyGen tidal project is not making full use of the available export capacity.
This will result in improved utilisation of the existing grid network without affecting MeyGen’s generation, and is believed to be the first such combination of a wind and tidal project of its kind in the UK.
The arrangement is an important step in demonstrating the feasibility of a diverse blend of sustainable sources of generation as a long term solution to our need for clean, predictable and secure electricity, and shows the potential for optimising the use of existing grid infrastructure assets through intelligent matching of different generation profiles.
Opportunities in offshore wind
There are two sites off the Caithness coast – the Beatrice site and the Moray Offshore Smith Bank site.
Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL)
Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL) is the partnership formed between SSE Renewables (40%), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%) and Repsol Nuevas Energias UK (25%). The site is located in the Outer Moray Firth on the north-western point of the Smith Bank, 13.5km from the Caithness coastline at the closest point.
The 588MW Beatrice offshore wind project was consented by Marine Scotland in March 2014, and granted an Investment Contract by the UK government in May 2014.
BOWL announced in July 2014 that Wick Harbour had been chosen as the preferred location for the offshore wind farm’s O+M base. Since then they have been working with Wick Harbour Authority, investigating plans for the proposed building, their related marine infrastructure and developing preliminary designs.
Construction at the new £10m operations and maintenance facility in Wick and the transmission works in Moray will soon be underway. Offshore construction will begin in 2017 and the wind farm is expected to become fully operational in 2019.
Beatrice is expected to bring a range of socio-economic benefits to the local, regional, Scottish and UK economies during both the construction and operational phases. Expected opportunities include job creation, skills training, investment in Scottish ports and harbours, supply chain opportunities and community benefit funding.
The wind farm is being developed with a tier 1 supply chain comprising Seaway Heavy Lifting, Subsea 7, Nexans and Siemens and is expected to deliver c. £680m into the UK and Scottish economy via employment and supply chain opportunities during the construction phase and c. £400m- £525m during the wind farm’s 25 year operational life.
In 2015, SSEN held three supply chain events through SSE’s Open4Business procurement portal, engaging with interested businesses and providing information on possible contracts. If you were unable to attend the events, the slides presented by BOWL, Open4Business and SSE’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractors can found below. To view the latest opportunities please visit and register for free on the Open4Business portal.
Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL)
Moray Firth Offshore Renewables Limited (MORL), owned by EDP Renewables UK Limited (67%) and Repsol Nuevas Energías UK Limited (33%), propose to develop three offshore wind farms in the 520km2 Moray Firth offshore wind zone, located 22km off the Caithness coast.
The site lease allows for up to 1,500MW of capacity to be built across the zone, which is split into a 295 km2 Eastern Development Area and 225 km2 Western Development Area. On 19 March 2014, Marine Scotland awarded MORL offshore planning consent to build up to 186 turbines and 1116MW of capacity across the Eastern Development area, which will be split up into three 372MW farms — Telford, Stevenson and MacColl.
The first project is likely to have a capacity of around 500 MW. Further projects will develop the remaining capacity in the zone.
Key project details
• Max. Capacity (consented) – 1116 MW
• Water Depth – 35-48m
• Average Wind Speed - 9.75 m/s
• First project will be ca 500 MW in 2018/19 (CAPEX ~£1.8 billion)
• WTGs to be between 7 or 8 MW capacity (MVOW V164 or Siemens 7MW)
• AC grid connection to New Deer
• DEVEX spend to date c£45M
• Current application for a CfD in the October 2014 Allocation Round
• FID in Q4 2015 and 1st Generation in Q4 2018
Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) announced the opening of consultation on the development of offshore wind on the remainder of its zone in the Outer Moray Firth in June 2016.
Photographs of tidal turbines courtesy of Atlantic Resources Ltd and MeyGen Ltd
Please click on the links below
Information on the Crown Estate wave and tidal sites in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters.
Information on the Crown Estate offshore wind developments.
Marine Scotland is the directorate of Scottish Government (SG) responsible for the integrated management of Scotland’s seas.