August 29, 2014

Aberdeen Bay windfarm gets final approval

By Ryan Crighton, Business Editor | The Press and Journal | 29 August 2014 |

The Scottish Government has granted a controversial windfarm planned for Aberdeen Bay the final planning consent it needs.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) – which will see 11 turbines built off the city’s coastline – was last night given its marine licence.

The development now has all the permissions it needs to go-ahead – but remains tied up in court battles with US tycoon Donald Trump, who has led a bitter public campaign against the project.

It also still lacks an investor willing to put up the money to build the £230million scheme – and hinges on the company finding a “mitigation scheme” to allay Ministry of Defence fears about interference with air radar.

Mr Trump believes the turbines will destroy the views from his championship golf course at Menie Estate and is refusing to spend any more money on the site until the turbine plans are dropped.

He appears to be winning his battle, as the project has been delayed for two years and Swedish energy company Vattenfall announced it was selling its 75% stake.

George Sorial, Mr Trump’s international development director, said the granting of the marine licence was “meaningless”.

“They have no money and are pushing a technology that has become both wasteful and obsolete,” he said.

The EOWDC is due to connect to the National Grid in 2017, two years later than originally forecast.

Since being granted planning permission by the government last year, it has been beset with problems.

On top of Vattenfall selling up, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg), which holds the remaining stake in the wind power centre, handed over the running of the project to Aberdeen City Council.

Plans for a substation at Blackdog – crucial for bringing the power ashore – was originally rejected by Aberdeenshire Council. However, that decision has since been overturned by the government.

Areg will continue to operate as a company, but the council will bring its economic development activities in-house.

A spokesman for the EOWDC said: “With the Scottish Government confirming the Marine Licence for EOWDC, another cornerstone is in place for the offshore works.

“The EOWDC remains strategically important to capturing the potential of the offshore wind sector and maintaining the north-east of Scotland’s lead in offshore renewables.”

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