November 30 (Renewables Now) - Mainstream Renewable Power is in the process of choosing a majority equity partner for the 448-MW Neart na Gaoithe wind project off Scotland, the Irish developer said Thursday.
KPMG London is overseeing the selection process, the results of which are expected early next year.
“Almost all the major players in the offshore wind sector are already in discussions with us,” said Andy Kinsella, CEO of Mainstream. The company wants to keep “a significant minority interest” in the offshore wind project and see it through construction and into commercial operation.
The offshore wind project in the Outer Forth Estuary in the North Sea secured a 15-year Contract for Difference (CfD) in 2015, but was delayed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Scotland’s attempts to stop total of four such developments in Scottish waters. Earlier this month it was announced that the Supreme Court would not allow RSPB to continue the fight. Mainstream said at the time it planned to move the wind farm into construction in 2018.
Advances in offshore wind technology have allowed the developer to cut the number of turbines for Neart na Gaoithe to no more than 54 today, as compared to 125 in the original application from 2012, the Andy Kinsella said earlier this month. Back in 2014, Mainstream’s plan for the offshore wind project was to use 6-MW turbines by Siemens. In the summer of 2015 it was announced that the 7-MW offshore wind turbine by the German company would be the new choice for the project. This week, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA (BME:SGRE) introduced a new direct drive offshore wind turbine -- SG 8.0-167 DD. It has 18% greater swept area and up to 20% higher annual energy production than its 7-MW predecessor.