A 30-mile power line could be buried under the Aberdeenshire countryside to feed electricity from the world’s biggest offshore windfarm to homes and businesses across the UK.
Construction of the cable link, which will stretch from the Banffshire coast to the heart of Buchan, will create nearly 600 jobs, developers said last night.
It will provide a crucial connection between the National Grid and a trio of wind energy developments in the outer Moray Firth.
Last month, the Scottish Government granted consent to consortium Moray Offshore Renewables (MORL) for up to 339 turbines off the coast of Caithness.
Now, plans have been tabled with Aberdeenshire Council for the onshore section of the work.
MORL, which comprises EDP Renewables and Repsol, wants to create an underground connection point at Inverboyndie or Sandend, near Banff.
A trench will be built to accommodate the cable, which will run to land south of New Deer in Central Buchan.
It will go under at least three main roads, including the busy A947 Banff-Aberdeen route.
Two new electricity substations will be built at the end of the corridor.
Full details of the plan so far will be revealed during a major public consultation exercise later this summer.
Feedback from residents will be used to help finalise the route before any planning application is submitted.
Last night, a spokesman for MORL said: “In March of this year, we received consent from the Scottish Government to construct and operate 1,116MW of offshore wind generation in the outer Moray Firth.
“This proposal is part of the project’s progress and will allow us to connect to the electricity grid onshore, to deliver power to homes and businesses.”
He said the company had originally planned to connect the windfarm supply to land near Peterhead Power Station.
“Under regulatory processes, working with National Grid and Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, MORL have found a more economic and efficient connection to the National Grid, which will ultimately result in better value for consumers,” he said.
“In our initial application we estimated that at peak employment the delivery of this part of the project would support up to 320 construction jobs in the north-east, and up to 590 in the whole of Scotland.”
The planned wind energy developments are named after prominent Scottish engineers – Telford, Stevenson and MacColl.
Construction, which will cost more than £300million, is expected to begin early next year, with the first electricity being generated by 2016.
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