A north-east town is set for major construction work after plans were approved to connect the world’s first floating windfarm to the national grid.
Energy giant Statoil won planning permission last year to install five giant turbines 15 miles off the coast, and hopes to have the project up and running by 2017.
The initiative is expected to create hundreds of jobs during its construction and about 10 permanent positions within Peterhead, where on-land infrastructure will be built.
But fears have been expressed it could also cause traffic chaos.
In order to progress the Hywind scheme, Statoil made an application to Aberdeenshire Council for permission to drill through a main Peterhead thoroughfare to hook the turbines up to the national grid.
It would allow the consortium of companies behind the venture to excavate through the port’s Queen Street and run 4,700ft of underground cable through the town.
And these plans have now been sanctioned by the local authority.
In supporting documents, which were submitted alongside the application, Statoil suggested special measures would be employed to minimise any impact of the community.
These include limiting the hours when work will take place and making use of a horizontal directional drill.
A spokeswoman for Hywind said: “An HDD on this section of the route would avoid open cut trenching of the public highway and avoid excavating in an area congested with existing utilities.
“An HDD crossing at Queen Street is a safer method for the community, stakeholders and workforce, and removes the requirements for traffic signals, open trenching in the highway, temporary movement of bus stops and closure of pedestrian crossings.”
The £180million scheme will generate sufficient green energy to power 20,000 homes and is expected to pave the way for more floating turbines elsewhere in the world.
Project director Leif Delp had previously said Statoil was “pleased” to be developing the enterprise in Scotland.
He argued that through the hard work of industry and supportive government policies, the UK and Scotland was taking a position at the forefront of developing offshore wind as a competitive new energy source,” he .