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Aberdeen Bay wind farm collects over £70m in subsidies since start up

An offshore wind test facility based off the coast of Aberdeen has received more than £70 million in subsidy since it became operational, according to new data.

Vattenfall’s Aberdeen Bay wind farm, also known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), started generating power in July 2018.

The 11-turbine development lies 1.5 miles off the coat of Aberdeen and generates enough energy to supply 70% of the city’s electricity need.

But new figures produced by anti-wind farm campaign group, The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), shows the project has received a £73m subsidy pay out over its two-year operational lifespan.

The money is received through the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC), one of the main support mechanisms for large-scale renewable electricity projects in the UK.

Swedish offshore wind developer Vattenfall said it “didn’t recognise the figures quoted” for the EOWDC wind facility.

John Constable, director of the REF, claimed the multi-million sum was due to the large amount of electricity generated and the heavily subsidised nature of the site experimental site.

He said: “It’s more heavily subsidised than others and it’s generating quite a lot of power, it’s a big earner.

“The money comes from a consumer levy drawn from consumer bills, which means that the burden falls disproportionately on those on a low income because electricity is a larger part of their expenditure than those on a higher income.

“The ROC was badly designed at the start and is a regressive measure.”

Vattenfall, who operate and run the wind farm, provides £150,000 a year in community benefit to Aberdeen via the wind farm.

A spokeswoman for the firm said the purpose of the ROC was to “reduce the cost of offshore wind, allowing for greater cost savings to consumers”.

She added: “The EOWDC has enabled game changing research into engineering and the environment, making it the largest test and demonstration facility in Scotland, enabling cost reductions on 5500MW of wind energy in the UK.

Jean Morrison, chair of the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), said: “The Renewables Obligation is the main support system for renewable electricity projects across the country, managed by governments to encourage the deployment of large-scale renewable electricity in the UK.

Vattenfall’s flagship European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in Aberdeen, which launched in 2018 with the support of AREG, has generated significant volumes of electricity into the grid, powering thousands of homes and reducing CO2 emissions.

“Developments such as these are important to our local economy and are enabling the energy transition to help reach net zero targets.”