The historic harbour-side infrastructure of Wick in Caithness is to be brought headlong into the 21st century following a wholesale renovation which will reimagine the maritime buildings as a hub for one of the largest offshore wind farms in the UK today.
These buildings – designed by the world-renowned Scottish engineer, Thomas Telford – date back to 1807, and the conservation works will ensure their continued use for years to come.
The hub itself will serve the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm – a £2.6Bn development currently undergoing construction in the Outer Moray Firth. Once operational, 84 turbines will generate 588MW – energy enough to power some 450,000 homes, approximately three times the amount in Moray and the Highlands both.
Onshore aspects – the £10M land base included – are to be entrusted to the Inverness and Glasgow-based consultancy, Pick Everard, alongside HRI/Munro Architects.
Doug Soutar, Director at Pick Everard, was on-hand to explain more: “This is such an exciting project to work on and one that is key in helping us to continue to deliver sustainable energy for the future. The onshore element of the project comprises the conservation, re-planning and part reconstruction of two blocks of the historic Old Pulteneytown area of Wick.
“These buildings are more than 200 years old and have a longstanding history of being used for maritime purposes. We are pleased to be helping to bring them back into service again following planning permission from the Highland Council.”
Steve Wilson – Senior Project Manager at SSE, which has a 40% stake in the wind farm – added: “Renovation of the iconic Thomas Telford buildings in Wick is well underway and has been progressing well. These buildings will become our long-term Operations and Maintenance Base for Beatrice Windfarm.
“These Thomas Telford buildings are a symbol of Wick’s industrial and marine past so we are really pleased to be utilising them and in doing so help continue that legacy. We’ve been very pleased with the support there has been in the area.”
It is thought that the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm will be operational by 2019. It represents one of the largest private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure, and brings with it a host of economic and community benefits to the wider region.