After having seen prospective US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lose every legal appeal he has ever lodged against it, offshore works have now started off Aberdeen Bay in preparation for full construction of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC).
Full offshore construction is scheduled to start in late 2017 or early 2018, after an investment decision later this year.
Vattenfall and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) – the partners behind Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited (AOWFL) which is the company driving the project forward – said the work keeps the scheme on schedule for operations to start in 2018.
A spokesman for the developers said last night: “We believe last December’s decision by the Supreme Court (which threw out Trump’s legal appeal) substantially cleared the way for the AOWFL shareholders to make an investment decision this year and we have started the preparatory work to support this.
“The geotechnical site investigation will take place at each of the EOWDC’s 11 turbine locations to assess the seabed, with the data acquired being used to inform the final design and micro-siting of the turbine foundations – reaffirming the project partners’ commitment to seeing the much-needed industry scheme come to fruition.”
After losing his British supreme court appeal last year over his specious claims that the offshore wind farm would economically detract from his nearby onshore golf course, Trump said he would instruct his legal advisors to lodge an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights – which is superior to the local London court (and which is one of the over-arching reasons for the British referendum on UK Independence from the EU).
Andy Paine, head of UK offshore wind development for Vattenfall (the state owned Scandinavian utility) and project director for AOWFL, said: “The pioneering EOWDC will help establish the north east as a global centre of innovation for the offshore wind industry. It is through test and demonstration of next generation products and services that offshore wind will become a low cost sector.
“The preparatory works being carried out helps keep the project on schedule ahead of an investment decision later this year and first power in 2018. The partners are currently working on the basis of fully financing the £230 million scheme and want to see the project come to fruition.”
Aberdeen council Leader Jenny Laing commented: “The EOWDC is a vital project for the North-east of Scotland and has reached an important point in its development. It will help to deliver significant and long-term economic benefits to the region and the opportunities for local energy companies will be substantial.
“The EOWDC will help to cement Aberdeen’s reputation as a global energy city and a world-leading centre for innovation. This is why the EOWDC has been a long-standing priority for AREG and this council.”
Survey specialist Fugro is carrying out the site investigation work on behalf of AOWFL. The company has mobilised one of its dynamically-positioned geotechnical drilling vessels, the Bucentaur, to the EOWDC site about three miles off the Aberdeen coast. The work is due to be supplemented with geophysical surveys later this year.
The turbine farm will have an installed capacity of up to 100MW and over 12 months, this capacity would be capable of yielding, on average, enough clean, green electricity to power the equivalent of more than 68,000 households.
Alex Salmond – now a lowly backbench MP in the Westminster parliament, but then Scotland’s First Minister – must be fervently hoping that Trump does not succeed in his bid to become President of the United States of America for fear that he will become an’ anti-ambassador against Scotland’.
Scottish legal experts last night told Scottish Energy News that the case of ‘President of the United States ex parte Trump v Alex Salmond in the European Court of Human Rights is considered to be ‘ very unlikely’
The two men exchanged mutually-bitter verbal volleys each time Trump lost an anti-turbine farm legal appeal after the Scot-Govt gave the go-ahead on Salmond’s watch.
Trump was appointed to the honorary post of ‘Scottish ambassador’ by a former Labour party first minister of Scotland. But he was subsequently un-appointed by Salmond’s successor as First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon after Trump called for all muslims to be banned from entering the United States.
At the same time, the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen last year stripped Trump – who is eligible to play for the Scotland national football team by a dint of a hereditary fluke of a granny born in the Western Isles – of an honorary business degree for his anti-muslim gaffe.