Canadian oil and gas company Talisman Energy is considering building an offshore wind farm in the inner Moray Firth off Scotland's north east coast. It is undertaking a £250,000 feasibility study to examine the technical and economic viability of up to 120 wind turbines adjacent to its Beatrice oilfield, some 121 kilometres north of Aberdeen. Talisman believes the relatively shallow waters, prevailing wind speeds, the ability to use existing infrastructure and probable UK government support, makes it an ideal location. The company is in talks with other major players in the power generation and wind energy sectors with a view to forming a consortium to take the project forward. With a generating capacity of 500 MW, the Beatrice site would be among the largest offshore wind plant anywhere and would provide 5% of the UK's renewable energy needs. The wind turbines, with a hub height of 90 metres, would not be visible from onshore. "We are very much at the infancy stage of such a project, which would have a lead time of several years," says Paul Blakeley, of Talisman UK. "From a purely engineering perspective we know that it is perfectly possible to develop wind farms on the UK continental shelf," he adds. "Such a development in the Beatrice field would be complementary to our existing oil production operations.
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