The project partners behind the ground-breaking European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) have welcomed the Scottish Government’s decision to approve consent for the project.
The cutting-edge project is a demonstration facility for next generation wind turbines and associated technology. With expected capital expenditure of more than £230 million, the EOWDC would prove to be a major investment in Scotland’s renewables infrastructure and a vital boost to its offshore wind ambitions.
EOWDC project spokesman Iain Todd said: “The Scottish Government’s most welcome approval for the EOWDC is extremely positive news for both Scotland and the UK’s offshore wind industry as it helps position Scotland, the UK and Europe at the global vanguard of the sector. The decision also confirms Aberdeen City and Shire’s status as a world-class energy hub, bringing with it significant economic benefits which will be pivotal to ensuring the region’s long-term prosperity.
“The project partners will assess the consent and associated conditions as part of the planning and programming for the next phase of the scheme.”
He added: “The EOWDC is the first offshore wind farm to pass through the new approvals process for offshore wind development and as such is a test case for the industry. The diligence and expertise of officials in Marine Scotland, among the statutory consultees and other interests should give confidence to the offshore wind industry and its supply chain that planning matters should not be a barrier to investment in Scotland.”
The EOWDC is a joint venture between Vattenfall – Europe’s sixth largest generator of electricity – the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), a pioneering private-public partnership, and consortium partner Technip Offshore Wind, a leading provider of specialist offshore wind installation and project management services.
The project is expected to create substantial spin-out opportunities for the supply chain as well as jobs and economic benefit by attracting scientists, researchers, engineers, offshore wind supply chain companies and future investment including manufacturing. This is anticipated to further add to Aberdeen City and Shire’s existing energy credentials including the skills and infrastructure required to build a 21st century energy industry for generations to come.
Morag McCorkindale, chief operating officer for AREG, said: “This project presents a huge opportunity to help the region diversify its energy-based economy and attract inward investment. The EOWDC places the region at the heart of the development of cutting-edge technologies and innovation to serve UK Round 3 offshore wind developments and is anticipated to become a chief centre of European importance.
“The decision is also a positive sign for Scotland’s renewables industry. number of reports have recognised the urgent need for facilities like the EOWDC as being of strategic importance to accelerating the development of an efficient, cost effective and technologically-advanced offshore wind sector to support the security of our national energy supply.”
Ron Cookson, senior vice president at Technip Offshore Wind, said: “We are pleased the project has reached this significant milestone. Test sites like this are vital to the development of cost-effective wind power and we look forward to participating in the safe and efficient delivery of the pioneering EOWDC venture.”
The European Union has awarded the EOWDC a grant of up to €40million under the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR) for the development of the project which was awarded demonstrator site status by The Crown Estate in 2010.