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Prince Charles opens Scotland's largest offshore wind farm

The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm will be officially opened on Monday.

Charles: Will officially open wind farm.
Charles: Will officially open wind farm.

Prince Charles is in Scotland to officially open the country's largest wind farm.

The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, the fourth largest in the world, will save around 8m tonnes of carbon emissions over 25 years.

The Duke of Rothesay openned the wind farm, which is situated in the North Sea, 13km off the coast of Caithness, on Monday.

Beatrice's 84 turbines will generate 588MW of energy - enough to power 450,000 homes every year, and will play a crucial role in the UK's efforts to combat climate change over the next 25 years.

The £2.5bn project is the largest ever single private investment in Scotland and was developed by Scottish-headquartered energy firm, SSE Renewables, with Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Red Rock Power Limited.

Construction of the wind farm, Scotland's single largest source of renewable energy, has provided a £2.4bn economic boost to the UK, of which £1bn went directly to Scotland.

Jim Smith, managing director of SSE Renewables, said: "We're incredibly privileged and honoured to welcome His Royal Highness to Wick today to perform the official opening of Scotland's largest wind farm, Beatrice.

"Today is about celebrating the hard work, innovation, drive and collaboration of thousands of people from across Scotland, the UK and further afield who all played their part in building Beatrice, which is now Scotland's largest offshore wind farm and the fourth largest in the world.

"We're incredibly proud it's been delivered on time and under budget, even when dealing with the challenges the North Sea and deep waters bring. We're especially proud of the significant positive impact Beatrice has already made to the communities of Wick and Caithness, and which will last for decades to come."

Beatrice first started development 10 years ago with construction, led by SSE Renewables, taking just over two years.

UK Government Business Minister Lord Duncan said: "Wind energy provided a record-breaking 17% of the UK's electricity last year, an increase supported by sustained government investment which is enabling the sector to grow, now contributing £2.4 bn to the UK economy, while driving down costs.

"Beatrice will support nearly 400 jobs in Scotland and today's grand opening reinforces our world-leading credentials in seizing the economic opportunities of the global shift to a greener, cleaner future."

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, said: "I want to offer my sincere congratulations and those of the Scottish Government to everyone involved in completing the £2.5bn Beatrice Offshore Windfarm.

"At 588MW it is the largest offshore wind development in Scotland to date and can provide electricity for a huge number of homes and businesses. I am also very encouraged by the positive impacts the project has had, such as the regeneration of Wick harbour and the role Scottish fabricators and suppliers have played in its construction."

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