In collaboration with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and SDIC Power of China, SSE has given approval for construction to begin on the £2.6bn Beatrice offshore windfarm in Outer Moray Firth.

The decision follows financial close of the project, which is one of the largest private investments in Scottish infrastructure.

Construction is expected to begin next year and will see the installation of 84 turbines, with a total capacity of 588MW.

Welcoming the decision, RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said: "It’s terrific to see another multi-billion pound international investment in our global-leading offshore wind industry.

"Beatrice is the first commercial offshore windfarm to reach this stage of development in Scottish waters."

"We now know that by 2020, 10% of the UK’s electricity will be generated by offshore windfarms, securing jobs and investment all over our country."

Expected to be operational in 2019, the Beatrice offshore wind farm will be able to generate enough energy to supply electricity to 450,000 homes across Scotland.

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Scottish Renewables’ senior policy manager Lindsay Roberts said: "Beatrice is the first commercial offshore windfarm to reach this stage of development in Scottish waters. It’s fantastic that the partners in the project will now be moving ahead with construction.

"Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resources, and projects like Beatrice are enabling us to capitalise on that in both environmental and economic terms."

Image: The £2.6bn, 588MW turbines Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) project is situated in the Outer Moray Firth. Photo: courtesy of SSE.