Accelerating the development of floating wind in Scotland

FAQ

What are the key aspects of a wind turbine?

Generic floating structure
(not to scale)

Who are Highland Wind Limited?

Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm is being developed by Highland Wind Limited which is majority owned by a fund managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) with Hexicon AB as a minority shareholder. Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners P/S (CIP) is a fund management company focused on energy infrastructure including offshore wind, onshore wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), biomass and energy-from-waste, transmission and distribution, reserve capacity and storage, and other energy assets like Power-to-X. It was founded in 2012 and currently has approximately EUR 16 billion under management. CIP is a major investor in the offshore wind sector and has significant investments in a number of offshore wind projects around the world. Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP), which conducts offshore wind development activities on behalf of the funds managed by CIP, has recently opened an office in Edinburgh to support the funds’ increasing engagement in Scotland, with a particular focus on floating wind.

What are the benefits of floating wind and do we need it?

Almost 80% of the world’s wind resource is in water deeper than 60 metres. It is where windspeeds are stronger and more consistent meaning higher capacity factors. Currently the majority of offshore wind farms in Scotland are fixed directly to the seabed, there are only two floating wind farms in operation. Unlike traditional fixed bottom wind farms, floating wind farms use wind turbine generators mounted on a floating substructure which is connected to the seabed using mooring lines and anchors. Much of the seabed around Scotland is too deep to be well suited to fixed bottom turbines. Floating offshore wind provides a technological solution which enables the production of large amounts of renewable energy which will be important to both Scotland's and the UK’s energy transition and is key to achieving net zero.

How does Dounreay Trì Project fit in with your proposal?

The Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm Project is an update to the Dounreay Trì Project that was granted key consents and a site lease in 2017. The original Dounreay Trì Project consisted of a two-turbine offshore wind farm, with an installed capacity of between 8 to 12 MW, approximately 6 km off Dounreay, Caithness. Highland Wind Limited acquired the Project and associated consent, licences and site lease in 2021. The Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm will be built out under a new consent.

What are your plans?

The primary objective of the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm is to test and demonstrate a technology solution for floating wind in Scotland. By developing the project in stages, through deploying the single turbine followed by the remaining turbines a year later, the capabilities of the local supply chain in Scotland will be better understood. This understanding will allow us to support the development of a strong local supply chain for floating wind in Scotland, helping to meet climate change targets, and providing highly skilled jobs and energy security. Highland Wind Limited firmly believes that this project will be an enabler for larger scale developments resulting from the current ScotWind Leasing Round and in turn will result in knowledge exchange and export opportunities in relation to the global floating offshore wind market.

What technology are you using?

Highland Wind Limited will develop the project using the optimal technical, environmental and commercial solution. Currently, this technology is still evolving so the exact technological requirements for the project are still under consideration. We will look to establish our selected technology and suppliers once all the information from our metocean and seabed surveys and environmental assessments have been completed to ensure the most efficient and technically feasible options are taken forward.

Will I see the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm from the shore?

The Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm EIA Application Boundary will be located off the coast of Dounreay. The visual impact of the turbines is being assessed through the Seascape, Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.

Will there be disruptions during construction?

We are working to engage closely with landowners, local residents, the Maritime Coastguard Authority, ports and harbours and Traffic and Transport Scotland to ensure the development minimises disruptions to local communities as far as possible. We already understand there are some concerns regarding construction and operational traffic in the local area. This will be taken into account in our application.

What about environmental impacts on seabirds and other marine life?

Renewable energy technologies are key to combating the effects of climate change, which is considered one of the biggest threats to marine life. Floating wind is part of the solution for a greener and safer future. Nonetheless, any development activity in the marine environment has the potential to impact on marine life and seabirds. We are committed to following best practice and have proactively undertaken environmental surveys and have conducted assessments, monitoring and modelling to minimise any impact on wildlife during the project’s development. The project team continues to engage with key environmental and conservation stakeholders and other relevant consultees in order to inform the scope of the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and detail of the project related to the EIA.

When will the Pentland Floating Wind Farm be completed?

The single turbine demonstrator is planned to be deployed as the first stage of the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm in 2025 to allow time to test and demonstrate the floating wind technology. We are planning to finish construction and installation of the remaining turbines during 2026.

How many homes will you power?

The Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm will provide enough green energy for approximately 70,000 homes per year, equivalent to approximately 65% of households in The Highland Council Area (based on 2020 figures). This would offset up to 125,000 tonnes of CO2 when considering all types of fossil fuels (https://www.gov.scot/publications/renewable-and-conversion-calculators/)

How are you involving the local community?

We are committed to robust stakeholder engagement. We have contacted local communities and community councils to offer a project overview. During 2021, COVID19 made it difficult to engage in person so much of our consultation was held virtually. As restrictions around COVID-19 have been eased we are able to engage in person. We held our recent consultation event in May 2022 both virtually and in-person to ensure that it was accessible to the most amount of people.

What are the benefits to the local community?

Highland Wind Limited is committed to ensuring this Project provides long term benefits to the local community. We have undertaken social and economic studies with involvement of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and leading industry experts to understand the positive impacts the project will have (both directly and indirectly) on the community, for example, through providing jobs, Gross Value Added (GVA) potential and demand for local services. Furthermore, we have commissioned a supply chain study to complement the socio-economic work in order to assess local supply chain capability and identify opportunities to support the project. We are at the early stages of developing a Community Benefits Fund and we have engaged Foundation Scotland to lead the consultation. Further information can be found on their website and comments can also be submitted via a survey which is available from this page: https://www.foundationscotland.org.uk/pentland.

Who else are you engaging with in the application process?

To date we have been in contact with a number of stakeholders including the Highland Council, Marine Scotland, Scrabster and Wick Harbour Authorities, local fisheries, NatureScot, Northern Lighthouse Board, the Maritime Coastguard Authority, SEPA, landowners, Dounreay Site Restoration Limited, NRTE Vulcan, Crown Estate Scotland, RSPB and Melvich Community Council. We will continue to engage with stakeholders throughout the development process.

I want to keep informed on project updates, how do I do this?

Updates on the project will be provided on this website under ‘Latest News’. You can also register for the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm mailing list by emailing pentland-stakeholder@cop.dk.

What is an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)?

EIA is a process which identifies and assesses the potential significant environmental effects of a project, informs the design of the project from and environmental perspective, and sets out standard industry and additional mitigation measures to eliminate or minimise the project’s effect on the environment.

What is the Project Design Envelope Approach?

The Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm has adopted a design envelope approach to develop the project. This is a common approach with major infrastructure projects including offshore wind farms. The design envelope approach does not consent specific technology, but allows outline consent to be granted and enables project impacts to be assessed on the basis of maximum parameters or worst case scenarios for specific receptors. This gives projects the flexibility to utilise new innovations in emerging floating wind technology and greater information on site conditions once this is available.

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