Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm has taken a significant step forward, with project developer, Mainstream Renewable Power, submitting an application to regulator Marine Scotland. It is seeking to proceed with offshore construction in 2015 and to have the wind farm fully commissioned by the end of 2016.
One of six offshore wind farms earmarked for Scottish territorial waters, Neart na Gaoithe will be built off the Fife coast. The number of turbines is yet to be agreed, with Mainstream’s application to Marine Scotland anticipating between 64 and 125 machines, depending on turbine size.
It is not yet clear whether Mainstream aims to retain a financial stake in Neart na Gaoithe or whether it will exit once all consents are in place. Speaking with Windpower Offshore in June, Mainstream’s chief executive for offshore wind, Andy Kinsella, explained that the company has not had the balance sheet in the past to allow it to retain equity in offshore projects beyond the consenting stage. However, he acknowledged that Mainstream’s management team would like to be in a position to retain minority equity in some of the offshore projects the company develops.
"We hope that as we grow, we will be able to hold a minority equity stake in our offshore projects. We want to have an offshore revenue stream," said Kinsella. German developer, WPD, is in a similar position, and is seeking to retain a 10% stake in its Butendiek project.
Mainstream hopes to achieve financial close for Neart na Gaoithe by the end of next year. Once operational, the wind farm should generate electricity equivalent to 3.7% of Scotland’s annual demand.