Developers behind a major offshore wind farm project in the Moray Firth have taken another step towards delivering first power.
A rig has been booked to carry out checks on the export cable route for the Moray East wind farm, which will be capable of powering 950,000 homes.
Moray Offshore Windfarm East, the joint venture spearheading the project, has said the 100 turbine development would create nearly 2,000 jobs in construction.
It has hired Dutch land survey firm Fugro to manage the onshore and offshore drilling phase of site investigation works.
The Aran 120A jack-up rig will be used for the offshore drilling campaign and will arrive in the coming days.
It will be located 2,500ft off the north-east coast for two weeks while it undertakes the work.
Moray Offshore Windfarm East is owned by EDP Renewables (EDPR), with a 77% majority stake, and French firm Engie, with 23%.
It is trying to make sure the plans for installing export cables at the landfall site are suitable.
Project partners intend to lay cables during 2019 and 2020, with first power to follow in 2021-22.
The wind farm will be built about 25 miles from the Aberdeenshire coast.
Last year Moray East was awarded a contract to supply electricity at 5.75p per kilowatt hour – almost 40% less than the cost of nuclear generation.
The Scottish Government granted developers consent for Moray East in 2014.
Electricity from the turbines will be connected to the national grid via underground cables buried beneath the seabed.
The cables will make landfall on the Aberdeenshire coast before continuing on to a new substation at New Deer.
EDPR is also behind the proposed 90-turbine Moray West wind farm, which is at an earlier stage of development than Moray East.