Beatrice offshore wind farm was inaugurated in July 2019. Credit: SSE plc.
The wind farm is powered by 84 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines. Credit: SSE plc.
Beatrice generates enough clean energy to power 450,000 UK homes. Credit: SSE plc.

The 588MW Beatrice offshore wind farm is located on the north-west point of Smith Bank in the Outer Moray Firth, Scotland, approximately 13.5km away from the Caithness coastline. The wind farm covers an area of 131km² near the Beatrice and Jacky oil platforms.

The project was developed with an estimated investment of £2.5bn ($3.7bn) by Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm (BOWL), a joint venture of SSE (40%), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP, 35%) and Red Rock Power (25%). BOWL also owns and operates the wind farm.

Commissioned in June 2019, the 588MW wind farm can generate enough renewable electricity to meet the power requirements of 450,000 households in the UK every year. The wind farm is expected to remain operational for 25 years.

The Scottish Government approved the project in March 2014, and offshore construction of the wind farm began in April 2017. The first wind turbine was installed in July 2018, and first power was exported from the wind farm the same month.

CIP sold its stake in the wind farm to The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG) and Equtix in January 2021. TRIG and Equtix now each hold a 17.5% stake in the project.

Furthermore, in July 2021, BOWL sold the offshore transmission assets of the Beatrice wind farm to Transmission Capital Partners for £437.9m ($610.85m).

Transmission Capital Partners is a consortium comprising International Public Partnerships (INPP), Amber Infrastructure Group and Transmission Investmentz. The transmission assets sold under the agreement included two offshore transformer modules (OTMs), along with the export cables and onshore substation at Blackhillock.

Beatrice offshore wind farm make-up

The wind farm is powered by 84 Siemens Gamesa SWT-7.0-154 wind turbines, each capable of generating 7MW of power, with 154m diameter rotors.

The wind turbines are mounted on pre-piled jacket substructures installed at water depths between 35m and 56m.

The management, designing, engineering, fabrication and installation of the substructures were managed by Subsea 7 in collaboration with Seaway Heavy Lifting.

The wind farm is operated and maintained from a base located at Wick Harbour. The wind turbines will be serviced and maintained by Siemens for a period of 15 years.

Cable and grid system details of the Beatrice offshore wind farm

A consortium of Nexans and Siemens Transmission and Distribution provided the transmission system.

In mid-2016, Siemens provided the offshore grid connection while Nexans supplied two 90km-long 220kV export cable circuits as well as 260km of onshore and offshore cables.

Installation of the cables was completed using the cable laying ship C/S Nexans Skagerrak, and the trenching was completed using its Capjet system. Nexans was awarded a $356.4m contract to undertake the works.

The power produced by the turbines is transferred to the OTMs with the help of 33kV array cables and converted into 220kV by the OTMs, before being transferred to the onshore substation.

The power is further stepped up to 400kV at the substation and then transmitted to the grid network.

Financing for the Scottish offshore wind project

The Beatrice offshore wind project involved an investment of $3.7bn and is claimed to be one of the biggest private investments in Scottish infrastructure.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) supported the investment with active participation from the new European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

The project was expected to inject approximately $990m into the UK and Scottish economies.

Power purchase agreements

Danish energy firm Danske Commodities signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with BOWL in January 2016 to buy 294MW of electricity, which is equivalent to 50% of the total energy produced by the plant.

Contractors involved with Beatrice offshore wind farm development

Siemens Gamesa secured a contract to supply 84 wind turbines for the wind farm in 2016. Swire Blue Ocean was contracted by Siemens to supply a wind farm installation vessel for the project.

Babcock Rosyth built the two Beatrice offshore wind farm OTMs for Siemens.

Seaway 7, Subsea 7’s renewables unit, was selected for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) of the wind turbine foundations. It was also responsible for the transportation and installation of the two OTM platforms.

Smulders, Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) and Bladt Industries were contracted by Seaway 7 to build 28, 26 and 30 four-legged jacket foundations for the wind farm, respectively.

Siem Offshore Contractors secured a turnkey supply and installation contract from SHL Offshore Contractors for inner array cables for the Beatrice offshore wind farm. Siem selected JDR to supply subsea power cables for the wind farm.

FoundOcean supported the project by managing onshore logistics and offshore grouting for the turbine and offshore transformer foundations.

GoBe Consultants was appointed as the lead post-consent compliance advisor for the project