Berwick Bank Wind farm is a 4.1GW offshore wind farm proposed to be developed off the East Lothian coast, Scotland. (Credit: SSE 2023)
Indicative map of connection points for Berwick Bank Wind Farm. (Credit: SSE 2023)
The development plan includes the installation of a maximum of 307 wind turbines. (Credit: Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay)

Berwick Bank Wind Farm is a 4.1GW offshore wind farm proposed to be developed off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea.

SSE Renewables, a renewable energy project developer and operator across the UK and Ireland, is behind the project. Berwick Bank Wind Limited (BBW), a wholly owned subsidiary of SSE Renewables, is the applicant for the wind farm.

The financial investment decision on the project and construction works are expected to begin between 2024-2026.

Berwick Bank is expected to start delivering first energy in 2027 and complete by 2030.

The project will be capable of generating enough clean energy to power more than five million homes and avoid eight million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

It will also help the Scottish Government to achieve its goal of delivering 11GW of new offshore wind by 2030.

Berwick Bank Wind Farm Location

The Berwick Bank Wind Farm will be located in the outer Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay, around 39.2km east of the coast of East Lothian.

Project Background

In the early stages of development, the project comprised two separate proposals- Berwick Bank Wind Farm and Marr Bank Wind Farm.

However, the two proposals were combined into Berwick Bank Wind Farm with a power generation capacity of up to 4.1GW following initial rounds of consultation.

In 2019, a geophysical survey was undertaken across the Proposed Development Array Area to collect the geophysical and bathymetric data.

In November 2020, a virtual public exhibition was held to introduce Berwick Bank Wind Farm to the public.

The project has completed one of the largest ornithology surveys in the world over the proposed area. This includes 25 months of aerial surveys comprising a 16km buffer area around the site.

As part of the planning applications to East Lothian Council and Marine Scotland, a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will also be carried out.

After the decision was taken to develop the wind farm as one single project, an updated Scoping Report of the project was submitted to Marine Scotland in October 2021.

The consent process for the offshore segment of the project began in December 2022, while the consent process for the onshore elements commenced in March 2023. A final decision by the authorities is expected in late 2023.

In March 2023, Berwick Bank Wind Farm promoted a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for specific rights in land necessary for the onshore infrastructure.

Berwick Bank Wind Farm project details

The Proposed Development Array Area, where the wind turbines will be located, encompasses an area of approximately 1,314km2.

The average seabed depth across the proposed development area is 51m below the Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT).

The development plan includes the installation of a maximum of 307 wind turbines with either a suction caisson jacket or piled jacket foundations.

Each of the turbines will feature a tower section, nacelle and three rotor blades, along with support structures and foundations. The rotor blade diameter is expected to be not more than 310m.

The maximum and minimum blade tip height will be 355m above LAT and 37m above LAT, respectively.

The infrastructure will include up to ten Offshore Substation Platforms (OSPs) installed with piled jackets for the platform foundations.

The wind turbines will be interconnected and linked to the OSPs via subsea inter-array cables. The OSPs will be linked with other OSPs through interconnector cables.

Power Transmission

The Berwick Bank project will have two connection points to the UK electricity grid. One in East Lothian at Branxton, near Torness, and a secondary one in the Blyth area of Northumberland.

Offshore export cables will connect the OSP(s) to landfall, following which, they will be connected to the grid connection point at a new 400 kV Branxton substation, located southwest of Torness Power station.

The expected lifespan of the project is 35 years.

Contractors Involved 

UTEC, the lead brand for Acteon’s Geo-services segment, was contracted to conduct topographical and ground-penetrating radar surveys for the cable landfall areas required for the project.

In July 2020, UK-headquartered consultancy RPS was appointed to lead the offshore Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and shadow Habitat Regulation Appraisal (HRA) consultant for Berwick Bank and Marr Bank offshore wind farm projects.

RPS’s work scope includes leading the development of Scoping Reports, EIA Reports, HRA Screening Reports, and Report to Inform Appropriate Assessments (RIAAs).

ITPEnergised was engaged to develop the onshore scoping report which was submitted in August 2020.

The British Geological Survey (BGS), in partnership with offshore geoscience and geotechnical engineering consultancy Cathie, won a contract to develop a ground model for the front-end engineering design (FEED) of Marr Bank and Berwick Bank Wind farms in October 2020.

In June 2021, Hi Def Aerial Surveying and SSE Renewables completed a 24-month aerial survey programme regarding the offshore wind farm.

In April 2023, Kent, which provides engineering and design services to the global offshore wind industry, was commissioned to complete the FEED and Detailed Design of the WTG foundations and substructures for the Berwick Bank wind farm. Kent was initially engaged in the delivery of the concept design.

Independent renewable energy consultants BVG Associates (BVGA) conducted an economic impact study. It showed that the Berwick Bank Wind Farm could create around 4,650 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Scotland, and 9,300 at peak construction in 2026.