The Swedish state-owned utility Vattenfall has confirmed it will now build a new £300 million offshore wind farm in Aberdeen Bay, installing 11 turbines to generate 92.4-MW of electricity. When completed, it will be the Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility.
Vattenfall’s investment decision also triggers an agreement for the European energy company to acquire the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group’s 25% share for an undisclosed sum and become the 100% owner of Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited.
The project was subject to numerous delays because of a series of unsuccessful legal appeals by Donald Trump, now US presidential candidate for the Republican party, because, he claimed, it would spoil the view from a local golf course development he is involved in.
Gunnar Groebler, Senior Vice-President, Vattenfall, said: “We have been working since consent in 2013 to deliver the project and support the increasing competitiveness of the offshore wind sector. Now the Vattenfall team and our contractors will focus on building the project safely and help establish north east Scotland as an international centre for offshore wind innovation.”
Onshore construction near Blackdog will start later this year and is due to complete late next year. Works offshore will commence in Aberdeen Bay in late 2017. The project is scheduled to generate first power in spring 2018 and operate for 20 years or more.
Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse, said: “Scotland is admired around the world for our work in renewable energy and this is great news for the industry
“This project will keep our nation at the forefront of innovation by allowing energy companies to identify new ways to reduce operating costs.
“We’re working hard to ensure offshore wind projects can help generate the low carbon electricity supply Scotland needs and the associated high quality engineering jobs Scotland wants.
“It’s important to remember that Scotland’s commitment to renewable energy has already helped the country meet our goal of achieving a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions six years ahead of schedule, but we have more to do as a society in setting out to achieve our obligation to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 and renewables will be absolutely key to this.”
Patrick Harvie, a Scottish Green MSP, commented: “This investment really is welcome news for the north east and for Scotland – especially in a week where the UK government abolished the DECC, the department responsible for dealing with climate change, and details of the scrapping of a carbon capture scheme in Peterhead came to light.”
The project is a welcome shot in the arm for an industry pronounced as ‘pretty much dead’ by a former Scottish energy minister yesterday after planning permission for four large-scale offshore wind farms further south down the east Scotland seaboard was vetoed in a court case raised by a birdlife charity.
Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin (SNP) said: “This is a really exciting day for the North East and for Scotland’s renewables sector – with the project now well on course to begin construction later this year.
“It leaves those who have spent the week talking down offshore wind in Scotland looking pretty foolish.”