Vattenfall completes purchase of wind test facility

30 October 2016

Danish energy major Vattenfall has decided to invest more than £300m in constructing Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility.

Danish energy major Vattenfall has decided to invest more than £300m in constructing Scotland’s largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility.

Vattenfall’s investment decision triggers an agreement for the European energy company to acquire the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group’s 25% share for an undisclosed sum and become the 100% owner of Aberdeen OffshoreWindFarmLtd.Thisisthecompany behind the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), also known as the Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm.

Vattenfall, in partnership with Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, have been the main developer of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre. Vattenfall has now decided to fully fund the 92.4 MW, 11 turbine project on its own account. The site will test and demonstrate cutting-edge offshore wind technology and once operational in 2018 will be in a position to help boost the industry’s drive to competitive clean power.

Gunnar Groebler, senior vp and head of Business Area Wind at Vattenfall, said: “Vattenfall, AREG, The Crown Estate, the Scottish government and many others have been working since consent in 2013 to deliver the project and support the increasing competitiveness of the offshore wind sector. Now the Vattenfall team and its contractors will focus on building the project safely and help establish the north east of Scotland as an international centre for offshore wind innovation.”

AREG had envisaged in 2003 a wind farm inAberdeenBay.In2008,theEOWDCwas conceived and in 2010 the project partners won a €40mn EU grant. In 2011 an application for offshore consent for the 11 turbine project was submitted, with Scottish ministers granting permission in 2013. A number of legalchallengestotheScottishgovernment’s consent decision followed. These were eventually resolved in December 2015.

Onshore construction near Blackdog will start later this year and is due to complete late next year. Works offshore will commence in Aberdeen Bay in late 2017. The project is scheduled to generate first power in spring 2018 and operate for 20 years or more.

  • Vattenfall has launched a €3m scientific research programme aimed at understanding the environmental impacts of offshore wind. The programme is believed to be the largest of its kind to date. It will be hosted at EOWDC.

A scientific panel advising on the allocation of the fund, made up of specialists in the field, has called on scientists to apply for funding to study the environment around the 11-turbine scheme.

Panel members will come from a spread of organisations that includes Vattenfall, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, Marine Scotland Science, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, RSPB Scotland, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and The Crown Estate.Research will include a wildlife component. Aly McCluskie, senior conservation scientist at RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) in Scotland, said: “Offshore wind has huge potential to help reduce our carbon emissions but we need to improve our understanding of its environmental effects to help ensure developments happen without harming wildlife. This research programme at EOWDC provides an excellent opportunity to contribute towards this.” 

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