5th February 2024

Thistle Wind Partners (TWP) a consortium involving DEME, Qair and Aspiravi, has submitted the onshore scoping report for its Ayre Offshore Wind Farm to The Highland Council. This is the first of a series of consenting milestones for TWP’s two ScotWind projects in 2024.

TWP’s Ayre project, located to the east of Orkney, will be a 1GW floating wind farm, contributing to the UK and Scottish Government’s targets for accelerating floating wind capacity. Through its local supply chain targets, TWP supports Scotland and the wider UK in developing exportable goods and services for the global floating wind sector.

This week’s submission of the onshore scoping report for the Ayre project is an important first milestone towards the required onshore planning permission for the project. The report outlines the onshore infrastructure needed for the project and the approach to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), which will support the submission for Planning Permission in Principle, targeted for early 2025.

The project’s grid connection point will be in Caithness, near the village of Spittal, with a landfall point at Sinclair’s Bay, all connected by underground cables. In 2023, the project team began community engagement in the region through a series of community and supply chain events in Caithness and neighbouring Orkney.

TWP anticipates returning to Caithness with further information on the locations of the substation, landfall and cables in the second quarter of this year in order to seek further feedback from the community.

Upcoming project milestones in 2024

TWP’s two ScotWind projects are on track to achieve a series of consenting and engineering milestones this year.

The offshore scoping report for Ayre is due to be submitted in spring 2024. For the Bowdun Offshore Wind Farm, which is a 1GW fixed-foundation project off the coast of Aberdeenshire, both onshore and offshore scoping reports are scheduled for submission this summer.

The pre-FEEDS (Front-End Engineering Designs) for both projects are underway.

Ian Taylor, Project Director at TWP, said: “Despite the projects facing a series of challenges over the course of 2023, they remain on track. We have navigated a way through these difficult times in the offshore wind sector thanks to active collaboration with the group of ScotWind developers and government agencies. The way we have pulled together in 2023 is breaking new ground for the energy sector and gives us great confidence in the future.”

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