Plans to build the world’s biggest offshore wind farm in the Moray Firth have been backed by Aberdeenshire councillors.
The £4.5bn complex, which comprises of 339 wind turbines 12 miles off the Caithness coast, won the unanimous support from councillors at Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee on Thursday.
It is estimated that up to 400 permanent jobs could be created, with around 2500 jobs during peak construction of the 30,000-hectare development proposed by Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL).
Councillors heard that export cables transporting the power will have a buried landing point on the Fraserburgh shoreline. Underground cabling will then transport the 1.5GW of potential electricity to Peterhead Power Station before entering the National Grid.
Once operational, it is thought the farms could produce enough energy to power 40% of Scottish households every year. Councillors also agreed to review the risks and effects of the wind farm on the coastal area, to help avoid any long-term damage.
Councillor Graeme Clark said: "Fraserburgh is an anchorage and we need to be careful about the impact on that area. The noise pollution created during the work and the effort needed to ensure that we preserve the sand dunes is very important."
The report submitted to the council stated that the turbines will have a rotor diameter range of between 120m-172m and the total height to tip will range between 162m-204m.
Cllr Robert Gray added: "The turbines will only just be visible from the shore. There are significant benefits to renewable energy that should not be overlooked."
The application will now be passed to Marine Scotland for consideration. If approved, construction would start as early as 2015 and take six years to complete. So far, two letters of support for the development and four against have been lodged.
MORL held a series of exhibitions outlining their plans to communities along the Moray Firth coast, including events in Buckie and Elgin.
Earlier this month the consortium behind the plans for another wind farm in the same zone placed proposals before Moray Council for a electricity transmission link to carry power from the wind farm. Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd (BOWL) say the line would come ashore near Portgordon and carry power underground to a new sub-station to be built at Blackhillock near Keith.
Full details of the MORL plans can be found at Moray Offshore Renewables.
View Moray Firth Wind Farm in a larger map
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