UK Export Finance (UKEF) has backed a contract worth over £100mn for the development of the Beatrice offshore wind farm in Scotland.

The export credit agency will support Scottish steel structures manufacturer Burntisland Fabrications (BiFab) access financing for its contract with Dutch Seaway Heavy Lifting (SHL) – the engineering, procurement, construction and installation (EPCI) contractor for the wind farm.

Under the contract, which it won in June 2016, BiFab will supply 26 wind turbine jacket substructures. The backing of UKEF is crucial for the manufacturer to realise its involvement in the project, says BiFab’s managing director John Robertsen.

“This contract gave us a valuable opportunity to be part of a major renewable energy infrastructure project, as well as a significant boost to our revenue at a difficult time due to the low level of activity within the oil and gas sector,” he says.

The UKEF guarantee is provided to BiFab’s bank RBS, which has issued performance and guarantee bonds to the buyer.

UKEF’s senior export finance manager for the devolved regions, Jon Boyce, says: “BiFab is a strategically important company in the east of Scotland and is a major employer within the local community. UKEF is delighted to have helped it succeed with this large contract and provide the bank with the additional security required to issue the performance bonds.”

Beatrice wind farm will be located in the Outer Moray Firth on the north western point of the Smith Bank, about 13km off the Caithness coastline. The development site will cover an area of up to 130km and comprise 84 Siemens 7MW turbines with a total capacity of 588MW.

Offshore construction will commence in 2017, with the wind farm expected to be fully operational in 2019.