THE Scottish Government has officially given backing to the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, off the coast of Aberdeen.
The development will consist of 11 prototype wind turbines and their connecting cables, sited between two and 4.5km off the Aberdeenshire coast, capable of generating up to 100 MW, providing - according to developers Vattenfall - enough energy to meet the needs almost half of the homes in Aberdeen.
Speaking after taking the decision, Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity for Scotland; an opportunity to build up new industries and to deliver on our ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.
“The Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector, which could lead to a potential generation of over £7 billion to Scotland’s economy and support up to 28,000 direct jobs and a further 20,000 indirect jobs by 2020.
“The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will give the industry the ability to test and demonstrate new technologies in order to accelerate its growth. The Centre will also generate up to 100 MW, enough electricity to meet the electricity needs of almost half the homes in Aberdeen City. It secures Aberdeen’s place as the energy capital of Europe.
“In consenting this application I have put in place a number of conditions to mitigate a range of impacts.
“My role was in determination of assessing the offshore elements of this development in relation to the Electricity Act consent. An application for a marine licence which is also required for the development is under consideration and will be determined in due course.”
The news was welcomed by green campaigners, who say that the centre will attract investment and secure jobs. However, the scheme was lambasted by Trump International, with Donald Trump threatening to take legal action to delay or scupper the scheme.
In an irate and dramatically worded press release, Mr Trump said: “This was a purely political decision. As dictated by Alex Salmond, a man whose obsession with obsolete wind technology will destroy the magnificence and beauty of Scotland. Likewise, tourism, Scotland’s biggest industry, will be ruined.
“We will spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed. All over the world they are being abandoned, but in Scotland they are being built. We will put our future plans in Aberdeen on hold, as will many others, until this ridiculous proposal is defeated. Likewise, we will be bringing a lawsuit within the allocated period of time to stop what will definitely be the destruction of Aberdeen and Scotland itself.”
First Minister Alex Salmond welcomed the announcement, however, saying that the development would create jobs, and help Scotland maintain its place at the top of the world’s league tables for renewable energy development.
He said: “I welcome this decision by Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing.
“The North East of Scotland is a world energy capital and in order to continue to prosper we have to be at the forefront of all forms of energy research – marine renewables, as well as oil and gas.
“A deployment centre will put Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in pole position for the development of offshore wind technology. Our ambition must be to see Scotland as the home of research, development, fabrication and deployment of deep water marine technology. People in the North East of Scotland well understand the importance of a deployment centre. This is reflected in the 465 representations in support of the offshore proposal, compared to 148 against.
“The Energy Minister was responsible for determining the offshore aspects of this proposal. Onshore is a matter for local decision making.”
Meanwhile, at Formartine Area Committee, a decision on the associated substation at Blackdog was deferred to allow councillors to make a site visit, and participate in a local hearing given the strength of local feeling.