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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Wind turbine floated to deepwater
Turbine picture courtesy of Alan Ross
The huge turbine is being transported to the field by barge
The first of two of the world's biggest offshore wind turbines has arrived at the Beatrice Field in the Moray Firth.

The tower and its components were taken by barge from the former oil fabrication yard at Nigg, in Invergordon, on Sunday.

A Scottish-based consortium led by oil firm Talisman and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) will test the deepwater turbines in a 35m pilot.

If successful, a full 200-turbine wind farm will be built 12 miles offshore.

Talisman Energy Project Director, Allan MacAskill, spoke to BBC Scotland as work got under way to transfer the first turbine.

It weighs about 1,000 tonnes and - when one of its three 63 metre long blades is pointing straight up - towers 170 metres above sea level.

Renewable energy

Mr MacAskill said it was lifted on to a barge and sailed out of the Firth on its way to the Beatrice Field.

It reached its destination on Monday morning.

"When we get there we will lift it up, move it over, lower it down and put a fully assembled power turbine and blades in one lift, which will take about four or five hours," said Mr MacAskill.

Turbine in Cromarty Firth
The turbine heads out to sea from the Cromarty Firth

When the transfer of both turbines is complete they will be tested in depths of about 45 metres.

It is hoped the site will be capable of generating one Gigawatt of electricity, enough renewable energy to power the city of Aberdeen.

European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs inspected the turbines at Nigg in July.

Government funding was secured two years ago, with 3m from the Scottish Executive and 3m from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Nationalist MEP Alyn Smith, who last month visited the Beatrice offshore wind farm project, congratulated the project team on the work so far.

He added: "Once these turbines are operational I hope this wind farm project will prove its worth and pave the way for more offshore turbines in the Moray Firth and elsewhere.

"The power that can be generated by these turbines offers Scotland a real renewable future."

The construction of the turbines has involved contractors in Arnish, Western Isles; Evanton; Inverness and Methil.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Giant wind turbine heads out to sea



SEE ALSO
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Windfall for offshore turbine plan
26 Aug 04 |  Scotland
Huge wind farm blows into action
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Highland wind farm wins backing
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Setback for test wind farm plan
21 Jun 04 |  Scotland
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12 Dec 03 |  Scotland
Public backing for green power
24 Aug 03 |  Scotland

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