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Plan for wind mast as high as Big Ben

A wind monitoring mast nearly the height of Big Ben could be built in Aberdeen.

The company behind the city’s planned offshore windfarm wants to test weather conditions on the coast.

It has submitted an application to put up a 295ft (90m) mast at Tarbothill Farm a few miles north of Bridge Of Don.

If it gets the go ahead from the city council, the mast will be built on open land close to the shore.

Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm – a joint venture between Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and project management services company Amec – wants to site 23 turbines 2km-4km (just over two miles) from the beach.

Amec’s wind energy director Robert East said a first step was assessing the energy it might generate.

He said an onshore monitoring mast would be “substantially cheaper” than building one at sea and added it would provide a good approximation of wind flow off the coast.

He said: “We want to design the windfarm in the most cost-effective manner.

“We need to gather wind data to find out what is actually happening out in the bay and how much energy the wind will give us.

“It allows us to reduce risk and uncertainty, and gives us something real to aim at.”

The tubular steel monitoring mast would be secured by four guy ropes with two anchor points for each.

The company’s offshore windfarm – if approved – will stretch two-and-a-half miles from Bridge of Don to Blackdog.

Mr East said the company had no intention of abandoning the scheme or moving it elsewhere.

He said: “We’re pretty confident that it’s viable. The mast is not a forerunner to any kind of onshore windfarm application.”

He said it was likely plans for the offshore scheme would be submitted next autumn but said it could be five years before it was built.

Two years ago more than 400 people attended public exhibitions of the offshore windfarm, which could supply energy to thousands of homes.

The offshore plan would need the go ahead of the Scottish Executive.

Evening Express

30 July 2007