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European Offshore Wind Centre

26/03/2013

The Scottish Government today announced consent for the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay.

The development consists of 11 wind turbines and their connecting cables, sited between two and 4.5 km off the Aberdeenshire coast, capable of generating up to 100 MW, providing enough energy to meet the needs of over 49,000 homes – almost half of the homes in Aberdeen.

The Centre, which is not a conventional wind farm, but an offshore deployment centre, will allow offshore wind developers and supply chain companies to test cutting edge wind technology in an offshore environment before commercial deployment.  This will reduce development risks and capital costs by providing the opportunity to test real time reliability and capacity generation and will ultimately support the creation of jobs across the industry. The Centre will reinforce Aberdeen’s place as the energy capital of Europe.

The Applicant, Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd. (AOWFL), applied for consent for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) to Marine Scotland in August 2011.

A two-stage formal public consultation process was undertaken. The first, conducted in August 2011, related to the original Electricity Act application, the marine licence application and supporting Environmental Statement.

The second related to the submission of additional environmental information in a Supplementary Environmental Information Statement.   This was submitted to Marine Scotland in August 2012.  It also included a number of revisions to the original proposal relating to the maximum height of the turbines, tip height of the front (landward) turbines, and placement of the larger turbines in the seaward rows. 

Consent under the Electricity Act is granted subject to conditions which will mitigate a range of impacts.

The planning decision for the substation at Blackdog, Aberdeenshire is a matter for Aberdeenshire Council.

Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“Offshore renewables represent a huge opportunity for Scotland; an opportunity to build up new industries and to deliver on our ambitious renewable energy and carbon reduction targets.

“The Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector, which could lead to a potential generation of over £7 billion to Scotland’s economy and support up to 28,000 direct jobs and a further 20,000 indirect jobs by 2020.

“The proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will give the industry the ability to test and demonstrate new technologies in order to accelerate its growth. The Centre will also generate up to 100 MW, enough electricity to meet the electricity needs of almost half the homes in Aberdeen City. It secures Aberdeen’s place as the energy capital of Europe.

“In consenting this application I have put in place a number of conditions to mitigate a range of impacts.

“My role was in determination of  assessing the offshore elements of this development in relation to the Electricity Act consent.  An application for a marine licence which is also required for the development is under consideration and will be determined in due course.  There is another consent  relating to the Blackdog sub-station development which is also required is a matter for Aberdeenshire Council.”

465 public representations in support of the proposal were received. A total of 148 representations objecting to the proposal were received.

Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited (AOWFL) applied to the Scottish Ministers for consent to construct and operate the EOWDC.

AOWFL is an established legal entity owned by Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd (VWPL) (75 %) and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG) (25 %).

The project is being part-funded by a grant under the European Union (Economic Recovery Programme in the field of Energy). Consortium members in this grant action are AOWFL, VWPL, AREG and Technip UK Ltd.

The Application was received in August 2011 and consultation undertaken. Supplementary Environmental Information Statement submitted in August 2012 and a second round of consultation undertaken. The entire process has taken 19 months.

This application was determined under planning laws section 36 , Schedule 9 of the Electricity Act 1989 read with the EU Council Recommendation on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe, the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive and the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2000, the Habitats Directive and the UK Marine Policy Statement 2011 and regard was had to various terrestrial planning policies.

Consent is granted subject to conditions which will mitigate a range of impacts.  These include the agreement of a Radar Mitigation Scheme, a Defence Radar Mitigation Scheme, a Black Dog Firing Range Management Plan, a Construction Method Statement, a Design Statement, an expert panael to inform thea Project Environmental Management Programme, a Construction Noise Management Plan, a Vessel Management Plan, a Cable Laying Strategy, and  a Navigational Safety Plan and the establishment of an expert panel to inform the Project Environmental Management Programme. Further details of these conditions and others are set out in decision letter and consent.the design document.

The 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland states that large scale development of offshore wind represents the biggest opportunity for sustainable economic growth in Scotland for a generation, potentially supporting up to 28,000 directly related jobs and a further 20,000 indirect jobs and generating up to £7 billion for the Scottish economy by 2020. These figures were calculated in 2010 research by IPA Economics, which quantified the scale of opportunity presented by offshore wind in Scotland.

Scottish Ministers role is in determination of the offshore elements of the EOWDC.  The planning decision for the substation at Blackdog, Aberdeenshire is a matter for Aberdeenshire Council.