THE company behind plans for one of the world's largest wind farms off the East Lothian coast have hailed a "major milestone" for the project.

SSE Renewables’ proposed Berwick Bank Offshore Wind Farm moved a step closer to realisation on Tuesday after East Lothian Council granted planning permission in principle for the project’s onshore transmission infrastructure and grid connection at Branxton, south of Dunbar.

Securing planning consent in principle for the onshore grid network will enable renewable energy generated by the proposed offshore wind farm to be transmitted to the national grid via onshore cable infrastructure and a new substation at Branxton.

The company hailed this as a major milestone for the project, as it represented the first planning consent for the Berwick Bank offshore wind project to be granted.

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SSE Renewables said it would follow up this planning consent in principle with a detailed design planning application to East Lothian Council in due course.

An application for consent for the offshore infrastructure needed to develop the project is currently before the Scottish Government.

The company is hopeful of receiving a final determination from Scottish Government ministers early in the new year.

Berwick Bank Offshore Wind Farm, set to be located roughly 38 kilometres off the East Lothian coast, could generate up to 4.1GW of power, making it the largest offshore wind farm planning application to be submitted in the UK and one of the largest offshore projects in the world currently in development.

SSE Renewables says that, if fully delivered, Berwick Bank would be capable of generating enough renewable energy to power more than six million homes annually – double the total number of homes in Scotland – and offset nearly eight million tonnes of carbon emissions each year, similar to eliminating all of Scotland’s annual car emissions.

The company is targeting a final investment decision on the project in 2025n.

At peak construction in 2026, it is estimated that the project could create about 4,650 direct, indirect and induced jobs in Scotland, and 9,300 in the UK, adding an estimated £8.3 billion to the UK economy as a whole over the lifetime of the project.

'Next steps'

Alex Meredith, SSE Renewables Berwick Bank project director, said: “Berwick Bank is a pioneering project that, if given the green light, will help Scotland achieve net zero by 2045.

"The development will support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

“We welcome this planning consent from East Lothian Council, which comes at a crucial time with COP28 currently under way, reflecting our collective commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

“The onshore grid network is an immensely important part of the project; simply put, without this element, the project could not continue.

"With consent now granted from East Lothian Council for planning permission in principle, we can progress to a detailed design which will allow us to build the infrastructure required to support the conversion of clean, green energy into the national grid.

“The next steps for Berwick Bank are to secure planning consent for the offshore part of the project, which we’re hoping to receive early in the new year from the Scottish Government.”