13/05/20, 9:47 AM
The 950MW Moray East Offshore Windfarm is the largest construction project in Scotland, and is expected to produce enough low carbon electricity to meet the needs of upwards of 950,000 homes (ca. 40 per cent of Scotland’s households) at a record low cost of 5.75p/kWhr. Offshore wind is an industry supported by a global supply chain and our approach to the emerging coronavirus emergency has been led by the Governments in each nation.
In common with other nations, the situation in Scotland has been dynamic and Moray East has followed the Scottish Government’s guidance as it has been issued and updated. In response to the initial guidance for industry we issued a statement on 27 March announcing the demobilisation of work at the project’s onshore sites (the new underground cable and substation in Aberdeenshire).
As the global situation has evolved, it has been recognised by Governments and industry that Coronavirus can no longer be regarded as a short term or temporary interruption. Working with Covid-19 as a part of the health and safety environment will therefore have to be regarded as the ‘new normal’. This has been acknowledged in the Scottish Government’s publications, including the 5 May update to “Coronavirus – Construction Sector Guidance”. Energy is one of 13 sectors defined by Government as ‘critical’, and within that sector, Moray East is an ‘Essential Project’. The latest guidance defines ‘Essential Projects’, as:
Energy work defined as essential includes:
• critical maintenance work being carried out to repair faults or outages at gas or electricity substations, or in pipes and power lines
• energy network replacement or refurbishment projects which are critical to the safe and secure operation of the system in the short to medium term
• maintenance or new works essential for the critical day to day running of power generation plants and onshore and offshore oil and gas infrastructure
All other energy construction works should be considered non-essential, for example, new build electricity substation and generation projects not due to commission or export within the next 12 months.
With commissioning and energisation programmed within the next 12 months, Moray East is an essential project. Working with our principal contractor, Siemens, we have undertaken a full assessment of our activities to understand how the project can be progressed under the new health and safety requirements for Coronavirus.
Following the updated guidance from the Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and Construction Scotland, a limited amount of work has restarted on the Moray East project on 11 May 2020. Work will only go ahead where the guidance can be achieved, and several changes have been made to our sites to ensure the safety of the workforce and the public. Protecting our employees and contractors is paramount and we will continue to review the situation daily.
Moray East will form part of Scotland’s critical energy infrastructure, providing low cost electricity to homes, businesses and public services. It has become clear that Coronavirus is not temporary and we are now adjusting to a new way of working to ensure this critical infrastructure is ready to support the recovery.