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United Kingdom

UK defense ministry objects to 1GW offshore project

UK: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has objected to SSE's plans to build a 1GW offshore wind farm in Scotland's Moray Firth, near the site where two Tornado jets crashed last week.

The Beatrice Offshore Windfarm is being developed by a joint venture of SSE Renewables (75%) and Repsol Nuevas Energias UK (25%) and will comprise a maximum of 142-277 turbines generating up to 1GW.

Its site is located in the Outer Moray Firth on the north-western point of the Smith Bank, approximately 13.5km from the Caithness coastline. The development site will cover an approximate area of 131.5km².

Three RAF crewmen lost their lives in the Moray Firth last week following a mid-air collision of their Tornado jets, and it has now been revealed that the MoD has contacted the Scottish Government with concerns about the Beatrice project.

"The MoD fully supports the Government's renewable energy policies and targets," said a MoD spokesman.

"However, wind turbines can have detrimental affects on MoD operations and assets. The MoD wrote to the Scottish Government on 19 June 2012 confirming an objection to the Beatrice Offshore wind farm development on the grounds it will be in line of sight to the Air Traffic Control radar at RAF Lossiemouth. The MoD ensures that any developments, both on and beyond the defence estate, do not adversely affect military operations and assets and continues to discuss the proposed development with the developer."

A spokesman for the project's JV told the Scotsman newspaper on Saturday that the JV was now working with the MoD to seek to address concerns over radar.

Proposals for the £3bn project follows the 10MW Beatrice Demonstrator Project, the world's first deep water wind farm development, which comprises two-turbines owned by SSE and Talisman that have been operational since 2007.

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