Significant global interest from wind turbine manufacturers to deploy at a cutting edge offshore wind demonstration centre, off Aberdeen, was confirmed today [07/08/12] with the scheme’s backers announcing that they had signed working agreements with six potential suppliers.
As a result of these Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs), the partners behind the more than £230 million, 11-turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) have reviewed their project proposals in order to ensure that Scotland does not miss out on this opportunity to lead the world in the development of offshore wind technology and bring major economic benefit to Aberdeen City and Shire, Scotland and the UK.
The original submission to Marine Scotland (MS) in August 2011 outlined that further supplemental information in the form of an Addendum would follow as part of the marine consents application process. The Addendum has been submitted to MS and the project partners will be inviting the public to comment this week until 20/09/12.
To accommodate the very latest turbine models, the project partners have submitted proposals to adjust the maximum height of turbines by up to 3.5m (an increase of less than 2%) to 198.5 metres and increase the radius of the turbine blades by up to 11m (an increase of up to 15%). The project also proposes to carefully design the site by reducing the maximum tip height of the front row turbines from 195m to 180.5m (a decrease of more than 7%), and place the larger turbines in the seaward rows. Turbine locations have not changed from the original submission.
Iain Todd, project spokesman for the EOWDC, said: “When we started talking to potential turbine manufacturers around 12 months ago more than a dozen international suppliers expressed an interest in deploying off Aberdeen. Recent discussions have led to six working agreements being signed. In keeping with the demonstrator concept we decided to make minor adjustments to the project dimensions to accommodate the tallest of these turbines in the event that we procure them. We are confident that our careful design results in a barely perceptible increase in visual and environmental effects.”
Mr Todd concluded: “We believe the proposed adjustment gives the scheme, Aberdeen City and Shire, and Scotland the best possible chance to be genuine world leaders in offshore wind. It would help to attract a new wave of inward investment in plant and facilities and capture the major jobs creation that will come with this. Cities like Bremerhaven in Germany and Esbjerg in Denmark are already taking advantage and prospering from the growth in this expanding industry. So should Aberdeen.”
The agreements between Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited, the company which owns EOWDC, and the turbine supplier states that both parties will maintain a close working relationship as the proposal proceeds.
The Addendum also contains supplemental marine mammal survey analyses and additional bird assessment taking account of slightly larger turbines and slower moving rotors.
In response to requests from local golf clubs, additional photomontages have been created of the site with photographs taken from a number of view points including Trump International Golf Links, Murcar Links Golf Course and Royal Aberdeen Golf Course. Images of turbines were then superimposed upon these photographs in accordance with Scottish Natural Heritage’s Visual Representation of Wind Farms Good Practice Guidance (2006). The photomontages can be viewed at a number of locations in the region and by request to the project.
The EOWDC, which has been awarded a European Union grant of up to €40 million, is being developed by European energy firm Vattenfall, offshore engineering services company Technip and the North East of Scotland renewables industry body, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group.
Earlier this year, three Government reports confirmed the strategic importance of sites like the EOWDC. All three reports by The Crown Estate, the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group and its Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Task Force (CRTF) concluded that the rapid development of Deployment Centres was essential to the success of the sector, the reduction in cost of generation and securing its significant economic benefit:
- The DECC report, entitled Technology Innovation Needs Assessment, identified an urgent requirement for projects like the EOWDC as a major catalyst towards tackling a ‘critical failure’ in the offshore wind turbine supply market and said that the project could help deliver £7 billion in value to the UK economy. It also found that offshore wind innovation could contribute to £45 billion in cost reduction and that the EOWDC could play a key part in that, making Scotland and the UK world leaders in offshore wind.
- The CRTF report highlighted the importance of delivering facilities such as the EOWDC as quickly as possible and said there is an immediate need to address the issues raised in The Crown Estate’s Gap Analysis of test and demonstration sites which identified that there will be a shortage of onshore and offshore test sites to meet the demand from turbine manufacturers.