The world’s fourth-largest wind farm, the 588MW Beatrice project off northeast Scotland, has been officially today (29 July) by Prince Charles.

The £2.65bn ($3.27bn) project — which will generate enough energy to power 450,000 homes — has been built around 84 Siemens Gamesa 7MW turbines on steel jacket foundations in water depths of up to 56 metres.

Prince Charles, the heir to the UK throne, visited the project's operations and maintenance centre in the town of Wick, where the 90 workers maintaining the facility will be based.

The project was developed and built by the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd consortium, owned by utility SSE (40%); fund manager Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (35%); and Red Rock Power (25%), which is owned by Chinese power company SDIC.

The world's largest offshore wind farms

1) Walney (1,026MW) in UK Irish Sea

2) London Array (630MW) in UK North Sea

3) Gemini (600MW) in Dutch North Sea

4) Beatrice (588MW) in UK North Sea

5) Gode (582MW) in German North Sea

Construction began in May 2016 and was completed in May this year, £100m under budget.

“Scotland has a quarter of Europe's offshore wind resource and Beatrice represents one of the first steps in tapping it,” said Claire Mack, chief executive of Scottish Renewables.

“With the right support from government, a supply chain which is competitive on price, quality and timescales and the commitment of industry, offshore wind has a bright future in Scotland as we work towards meeting some of the world's most challenging climate change targets and building a smart energy system with renewable energy at its heart."

John Robertson, head of energy & infrastructure for Crown Estate Scotland, the public body that manages the leasing of the Scottish seabed, said, “Today is a fantastic milestone for Scottish offshore wind, with clean energy being generated at significant scale and new jobs created.

“As we prepare to launch Scotland’s new round of offshore wind leasing, this success offers a glimpse of how new projects can benefit the climate, communities and Scotland as a whole.”