Commonly known in Scotland as the Duke of Rothesay, Prince Charles attended the offices of SSE Renewables, the lead developer, and Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited in Wick to celebrate the official opening of the new wind farm.
The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm is capable of powering up to almost half a million homes. It is located about eight miles off the coast of Wick, which lies in the extreme north of Scotland near John o’ Groats. It comprises 84 huge turbines that make it Scotland’s single largest source of wind power, although the Walney wind farm off the Cumbrian coast is still the world’s biggest offshore wind farm. Beatrice is, however, the fourth largest offshore wind farm in the world, and it is particularly notable for being built in waters up to 56m deep. The electricity produced is transmitted through underground and subsea cables to the Blackhillock substation near Keith in Moray.
The project, which cost £2.65 billion, is a joint venture between Red Rock Power Limited, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, and SSE Renewables, with the latter leading the development, building, and operation of the wind farm. Construction took about three years, and it was finished on time and even £100m under budget.
Some 90 staff in Wick will look after the maintenance and operation of the wind turbines, such as ensuring effective lubrication with products like those from Mobil stockists. Two harbour-front buildings designed by Thomas Telford, the well-known Scottish architect, have been redeveloped into a base for these operations.