Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd (MORL) has announced intention to open consultation on the development of offshore wind on the remainder of its zone in the Outer Moray Firth.

In 2010, The Crown Estate awarded MORL development rights for offshore wind development in Zone 1 (Moray Firth). MORL split the site into an Eastern and Western Development Area, and developed proposals for the Eastern Development area first, receiving consent from the Scottish Government for 1,116MW in 2014. This represents the average electricity needs of over 700 000 households.

MORL announced that it will open consultation on proposals to develop the Western Development area in June.

Dan Finch, EDPR’s Director of Offshore said:

"We worked hard to deliver a high-quality project in the Eastern Development Area, with no impediments to its construction. All that we need to proceed is a contract which will enable us to sell power in the reformed electricity market, and we look forward to the UK Government announcing the next ‘Contract for Difference’ (CfD) auction, which will allow us to compete for the contract which will let us deliver the project.

"Today we are announcing proposals to develop the Western area of our site to maximise renewable energy generation in the zone which was allocated to us by the Crown Estate. This can create a pipeline of offshore wind projects in the Moray Firth, and associated opportunities for the local economy.

"MORL received considerable support from local communities as we developed the Eastern Area of our site. We will be returning to those communities with events this summer which will be announced in the local press. This will help to establish the level of support for the development of the Western area of the zone.

"I look forward to continuing to working with all of the individuals and organisations who have an interest in the Moray Firth; their participation is vital to the successful and sustainable delivery of new infrastructure."

The Scottish Government’s Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said:

"The Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector and today’s announcement by EDPR to consult on the viability of the Western Development Area in the Moray Firth is the next step in that process.

"It is essential that communities and organisations with an interest in this proposal have an opportunity to comment and welcome EDPR’s programme of engagement over the course of the summer to gauge opinion.

"We have always stated that to realise and harness Scotland’s offshore renewable wealth we must do so in a sustainable way, that ensures communities can also benefit from the new economic opportunities presented by this sector."