Plans for the first phase of what would be Scotland’s biggest renewable energy project went on display this week.
Seagreen Wind Energy showcased proposals that would see an initial 150 turbines constructed 17 miles off the Angus coast.
The plans were on display in Montrose, Arbroath, Carnoustie, Dundee and Tealing over the course of the week, with representatives of the company, a joint venture between Scottish and Southern Energy and American engineering firm Fluor, meeting the public to discuss the project and deal with any queries.
As well as the construction of turbines out at sea – as many as 700 eventually – a swathe of Angus is likely to be dug up as one of Scotland’s highest capacity underground cables is installed to transfer the energy produced at the field.
Admitting that concerns over the visual impact of the project had been prominent among members of the public, Chris Bell from Scottish and Southern Energy, said: ”It’s something that a lot of people have been asking about. We are 27km at the closest point to land in Angus and I think it will be difficult to see anything from land in most weather conditions.
”People are interested in what they will actually see of the project and what the aesthetic impact will be. They have been reassured that the route across land will be underground, although there will be a need for some infrastructure at Tealing.”
The company intends to lodge plans with both Angus Council and the Scottish Government body Marine Scotland later in the year, with the possibility of construction starting in 2015.
The first phase of the project would cover almost 400 square kilometres of the North Sea, with each of the 150 turbines standing over 200 metres tall.
”We would be looking to place a planning application with Marine Scotland and Angus Council, for the land-based part of the project, in August,” added Mr Bell.
”Hopefully that would be approved next year and then it would probably be around two years before construction starts.
”The technology is sound and proven and a lot of local businesses could benefit from this project. It’s a really exciting project and I think it will make a considerable contribution to renewable energy in Scotland.”
Seagreen has been awarded exclusive development rights for the Firth of Forth zone by the Crown Estate and, if permitted, then construction of the field would take place in three phases, eventually covering an area of over 2800 square kilometres.
The turbines proposed as part of phase one alone would be able to produce up to 1050 megawatts of power, equivalent to the annual needs of around 670,000 homes.