The project began powering up in June and on Thursday saw the opening of the operations and maintenance centre, in the port of Fraserburgh, north Scotland.
The Moray East offshore wind farm, one of Portuguese energy utility EDP’s largest investments in the UK, is progressing “on time” to be complete this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, CEO Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade said on Thursday.
The project began powering up in June and today saw the opening of the operations and maintenance centre, in the port of Fraserburgh, north Scotland, with it due to going into full operation by the end of the year as planned.
Moray East, which began construction in 2018, will have 100 wind turbines with 950 megawatts (MW) installed capacity.
“The fact that we managed to deliver the project on time, despite the pandemic, is very much due to the teams’ efforts,” he told Lusa, praising the “fantastic work” because, “in challenging conditions, they delivered a very complex project on time”.
“The value chain did not break, there were several mishaps along the way, but at the end of the day, they were able to find solutions and turn situations around,” he said.
The operations centre will be responsible for the daily management of the offshore wind farm, namely the control of the vessel ‘Alba’, which spends periods of two weeks at sea with a crew to perform maintenance work on the infrastructure.
The infrastructure will create around 100 local jobs. At the opening, Scottish Energy Minister Michael Matheson reiterated Scotland’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045, five years ahead of the UK.
“Just as we were at the heart of the Industrial Revolution, we also want to be at the forefront of the Green Revolution,” the Scottish ruler said.
The wind farm is located in the Moray estuary in the North Sea, 22 kilometres from the coast, the exploitation area of which has been divided into two plots. The eastern section started construction first due to technical issues in 2018.
It will produce electricity to meet the energy needs of 40% of the Scottish population while saving 1.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to generating electricity from natural gas.
The supply contract signed in 2017 with the UK government is valid for 15 years and assumes a tariff of £57.5 (€68) per megawatt-hour, less than half the cost of other wind farms in the UK, generally above £140 per megawatt-hour.
The western section, called Moray West, is under construction and will have an installed capacity of 850 MW.
The project was developed by Moray Offshore Windfarm East Ltd (MOWEL), controlled by Ocean Winds (56.6%), a 50/50 joint venture between EDP Renováveis and the French energy group Engie.
MOWEL also includes Diamond Green Limited (33.4%), a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp, and the Chinese state-owned group China Three Gorges (CTG) owns the remaining 10%.
According to EDP, Ocean Winds has invested €3.1 billion in these two projects and plans to inject a further €2.6 billion into Moray West over the next three to four years.
EDP Renováveis is a subsidiary of Portuguese electricity company EDP – Energias de Portugal, of which CTG is the largest shareholder with a 19.03% stake.