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Court ruling ends two-year battle

Judges back plans for £2bn wind farms project

Andy Kinsella
Andy Kinsella: significant benefits

A final hurdle has been overcome in the battle to build a £2 billion complex of wind farms off the east coast of Scotland.

Scottish judges have cleared the way for work to start on 2.1GW of offshore developments.

They include Mainstream Renewable Power’s (MRP) “shovel-ready” 450MW Neart na Gaoithe in the outer Forth Estuary.

The Inner Court of Session refused an application from bird protection agency RSPB that would have resulted in the UK Supreme Court reviewing consents as part of a long-running legal battle.

Other projects included in the case were SSE and Fluor’s 1050MW Seagreen Alpha and Bravo and Red Rock Power’s 600MW Inch Cape.

Neart is the only one of the projects holding a contract for difference, a financial instrument that allows traders to invest into an asset class without actually owning it.

MRP welcomed today’s decision.  Neart na Gaoithe will be capable of supplying 325,000 homes – a city the size of Edinburgh – with clean energy.

Andy Kinsella, chief operating officer, MRP, said; “After more than two years and two court hearings, we hope that the RSPB acknowledges a fair hearing and allows us to get on with delivering the very significant benefits this project brings to the Scottish economy and its environment.  

“It will create more than 500 direct jobs during construction and over 100 direct permanent jobs once operational.  £540 million will be directly invested in Scotland during the construction phase with a further £610m during the operational phase.  

“We are delighted with the decision and look forward to working constructively with the RSPB to take the wind farm into construction next year.”

The project was consented by Scottish Ministers in October 2014 on the advice of Scottish Natural Heritage and Marine Scotland.

“We have been rigorous throughout the project to work with partners and supply chain businesses to find the best possible way to deliver the project and we are looking forward to seeing NnG up and running,” said Mr Kinsella.

“We have taken advantage of significant advances in the technology to be used allowing the number of turbines to be reduced from the 125 in the original consent application in 2012, to a maximum of 64.”

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