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Highland Council approve Moray Firth wind farm

Highland councillors have raised no objections to plans for a £3billion, 277-turbine wind farm in the Moray Firth, off the Caithness coast.

The Scottish Government, which has the final say on the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (Bowl) project, had sought the local authority’s view.

Highland Council planning officials had recommended that councillors do not object to the scheme, and they followed the advice.

Local Caithness Council Alex MacLeod said the project would be a “golden opportunity” for the area.

Unlike onshore windfarms, even if the authority had objected to the offshore proposal it would not have prompted a public inquiry.

Bowl is a joint partnership formed between SSE Renewables and Repsol Nuevas Energias UK.

Two experimental turbines are already sited in the Beatrice oil and gas field, the proposed location of the wind farm. More than half of the turbines would be 187m (613ft) in height.

If approved, construction could start in 2015 with the first electricity being exported from the site to shore by summer 2018.

In March, Highland councillors gave their backing to plans for the world’s largest wind farm near to Bowl’s proposed project.

Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd wants to construct up to 339 turbines across three offshore wind farms located in the Outer Moray Firth, about 14 miles from the Caithness coast, as part of their £4.5bn project.