The Scottish Government gave its consent today for the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay. It will host 11 wind turbines 2-4.5 km off the Aberdeenshire coast.
The EOWDC will allow wind power developers and equipment manufacturers to test technology in an offshore environment before commercial deployment. This is a crucial factor in reducing development risks and ultimately capital costs. As yet, the UK has no dedicated offshore test sites, although one is being developed off north-east England.
The consent comes nearly two years after Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd, which is 75% owned by Vattenfall and 25% owned by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, applied in August 2011. The project received 465 public representations in support and 148 objections, including strenuous opposition from US tycoon Donald Trump, who said it would spoil views from his golf course near the coast.
Consent under the Electricity Act is granted subject to conditions that will mitigate a range of impacts, the Scottish government said. They include radar and noise concerns alongside navigational safety, vessel management and cable laying plans. Permitting for the substation at Blackdog, Aberdeenshire, is a matter for Aberdeenshire Council.
"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," Scotland's energy, enterprise and tourism minister Fergus Ewing said.
Ewing reiterated the Scottish government's commitment to the offshore wind sector, which he said could generate more than £7bn for Scotland’s economy. The Scottish government is holding a referendum on independence from the UK in September. Scotland's ability to sustain a strong economy is one of the most hotly debated topics.
Scotland has nearly 5GW of offshore wind projects at the permitting stage, but is experiencing delays in unlocking this pipeline. The EOWDC project is being part-funded by a grant under the EU's Economic Recovery Programme in the field of Energy).