A renewable energy firm have applied to bring forward work on key infrastructure that will support a massive offshore wind farm.
Last year Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MOR) was granted consent for up to 186 turbines to be site 14 miles from the Caithness coastline.
In September, Aberdeenshire councillors backed plans to build two electricity substations near New Deer and 20 miles of underground cable to run from Mains of Asleid to Inverboyndie, near Banff.
Work at new deer was conditional on MOR providing council planners with detailed information on the the proposed layout of the cable works, as well as the impact on roads and the local environment.
But now the energy firm have asked to begin construction of the New Deer substations before this information is submitted, to ensure the facility is delivered on time.
Council planners have backed the move, and in a report to next week’s Buchan Area Committee infrastructure chief Stephen Archer says: “The purpose of the application is to allow work to be carried out on the substations site before the matters specified which relate to the cable route and landfall site at Inverboyndie have been approved.
“In order to achieve the contracted grid connection date as specified by the Transmission Owner (Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission, SHE-T), the applicant must start work on the substation site in early 2016.
“The finalised cable route and landing area will not be established until after that time.”
Buchan councillors will discuss the revised planning application next week before it is put to full council in June.