Camouflaged substation planned for offshore windfarm

Aberdeenshire Council's HQ

A detailed planning application has been lodged for an electricity substation near New Deer that will process enough renewable electricity to power up to 900,000 homes.

Proposals for the 190-turbine Moray East Offshore Windfarm in the Moray Firth were first approved in 2014.

Now in-depth plans of its associated onshore infrastructure have been lodged with Aberdeenshire Council.

They include 20 miles of underground cabling, which will arrive at Boyndie Bay between Banff and Whitehills then stretch to Burnside near New Deer.

It is proposed that the end-point also becomes home to an 85,000sq ft facility containing two substations, which are needed to send the generated electricity to the National Grid.

In the planning application, from Moray Offshore Windfarms, a number of measures are outlined that will help the facility to blend in to its rural Aberdeenshire surroundings.

Four different types of woodland will be planted at the site along with hedgerows and grassland.

In addition the building will be painted camouflage green in order to appear “visually recessive” during all four seasons.

The report notes: “The overall appearance of the substations is sensitive to place, with landscape and visual impacts minimised as far as practical by the use of appropriate design, building materials, shape, layout, colour and finishes, while also considering the functional requirements for electrical substations.”

Craig Milroy, a spokesman for Moray Offshore Windfarms, said: “This is necessary for the windfarm project as a whole.

“Since 2014 we have considerably reduced the price of energy that will be generated to £57.50 per megawatt hour.

“This is compared with projects being built at the moment, where the price is about £140MW/hr.

“So obviously we have worked very, very hard on all aspects of the project.

“Completing the onshore planning process is an important milestone in the development of the windfarm.”

The development is expected to produce renewable electricity for 30 years and will create nearly 2,000 jobs in the process.

If planning permission is granted for the onshore works, construction is expected to begin next year.