Important milestone achieved for pioneering offshore wind project off Aberdeen Bay.
Vattenfall, Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), the joint venture (JV) partners behind a cutting edge Wind Deployment Centre in Scottish waters – the 11-wind turbine European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen Bay – have submitted their consent application to Marine Scotland.
The application seeks permission for work to commence on the construction and operation of the Centre. It follows extensive consultation with stakeholders and studies which have seen the project significantly evolve over the last six years from an offshore wind farm into a deployment centre to test and demonstrate up to 11 next generation offshore wind turbines, support infrastructure and other related technology.
David Hodkinson, UK Country Manager of Vattenfall, said: “Our consent application was submitted on 1st August and will now be subject to the formal consultation and decision process. We believe we have made a good case for the development, which places Aberdeen at the heart of the development of new technologies to serve the growing European offshore wind sector. We would build the project with the same attention to detail in respect of environmental and community considerations as we have for our previous developments”.
Ron Cookson, Senior Vice President, Technip Offshore Wind, said: “This is an important milestone for the EOWDC and Technip is delighted to be involved. It is our belief that this project could, with considerable EU support, be the catalyst which ‘kick starts’ the region’s rapid emergence as an industry-leading player in marine renewables.”
Morag McCorkindale, Chief Operating Officer at AREG, said: “As Europe’s energy capital, Aberdeen City and Shire is the ideal location for the EOWDC. The region has an offshore oil and gas supply chain unrivalled in the eastern Hemisphere and therefore has the highest concentration of energy expertise, experience, skills and technology. This industrial-scale know-how is crucial to the development of marine renewables, and in the short-term particularly, offshore wind. The EOWDC is a key project to assist in the diversification of its economy.”
Located off Aberdeen Bay, the EOWDC would accelerate the development of offshore wind power by proving the next generation of technology in a real time offshore environment. It is expected that the facility would create jobs and economic benefit by attracting scientists, researchers, engineers, offshore wind supply chain companies and future investment in a fast growing sector.
Scottish Enterprise’s early support for the project underlines its national and international importance and significance on Scotland’s ability to win a share of the major construction work which will follow the granting of consent for the Round 3 zones. The economic development agency has supported the project from its infancy with funding to date in excess of £200,000.
Chris Bronsdon, Chief Executive, Scottish European Green Energy Centre (SEGEC), said: “The development of offshore wind still faces many challenges to commercial deployment. The operation of the EOWDC will make a strong contribution to knowledge sharing for new components, designs and access methodologies for construction, operations and maintenance to be executed in the marine environment. SEGEC played a pivotal role in securing the award of up to €40M from the European Commission and see that there will be significant added value to the partners, and to Scotland, in positioning this deployment centre as a key asset in the offshore wind supply chain.”
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre has the potential to become a huge asset to Scotland, helping to ensure that we remain a global leader in renewable energy. Aberdeen has always been a strong base for our offshore energy industries with a wealth of experience and skills in oil and gas that we can now use to grow our green energy industry. Offshore wind is especially important as it has the potential to deliver more than 28,000 direct jobs in Scotland by 2020 and contribute up to £7.1 billion of investment to the economy, breathing new life into our manufacturing sector. The EOWDC project will help to deliver these opportunities through facilitating the proving of next generation technologies, helping Scotland to attract and retain the investment needed to create jobs and provide secure supplies of clean and affordable energy.”
Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK, the country’s largest wind and marine energy association, said: “The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will provide invaluable opportunities for R&D, helping the industry to grow with real confidence. Innovative projects such as this will help the UK to maintain its position as the world leader in offshore wind. This will in turn encourage more investors to come forward, creating thousands of jobs in the rapidly-expanding offshore wind sector”.
Bob Collier, Chief Executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce said: “This is a real opportunity for Aberdeen and the North-east to place itself at the forefront of this aspect of the renewables industry. There is fierce competition not just in Scotland but across the rest of Europe to gain recognition as a leader in the field and this project will provide an extremely valuable testing site for manufacturers to demonstrate their products and to gather vital data on performance.”
Dr Simon Puttock, Executive Director of the Energy Technology Partnership said: “The Energy Technology Partnership welcomes the development of EOWDC and we look forward to supporting it with our world-class expertise in wind energy and power network related technologies”.
Professor Paul Mitchell of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Engineering said: “This is potentially a great opportunity for Scotland’s research community to actively engage in the development of an important means to generate low carbon electricity. Particularly important will be the deployment of the Ocean Laboratory, as wide a range of turbines and support structures as possible and access to these for independent evaluation in order to aid future developments.”
Sara Budge, Project Director for Energetica, Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (ACSEF) said: “This is a major step forward for the pioneering EOWDC development which will play a pivotal role in ACSEF’s flagship Energetica project. Not only will it enable the testing of new generation technologies but bring significant opportunities for Aberdeen City and Shire to build a viable, robust supply chain around offshore wind, particularly in the areas of development, operation and maintenance.
“Energetica is a highly ambitious, dynamic proposal at the heart of our efforts to promote Aberdeen City and Shire as a global energy hub. In addition to the EOWDC, the hydrogen corridor, airport development zone and Peterhead’s decommissioning and emerging marine renewable sector – along with links to the region’s two universities and research base – are also key to the ambitious Energetica vision.”
Colin Parker, Chief Executive of Aberdeen Harbour, said: “Renewable energy, and in particular the offshore wind industry, has the potential to generate significant levels of traffic for Aberdeen Harbour in the future, while offering considerable economic opportunities that will benefit the whole region. Vessels involved in surveying and drilling bore holes for offshore wind farms are, for example, already utilising the port’s facilities. The EOWDC is a facility that has the potential to substantially develop the north east’s burgeoning renewables sector. The harbour’s future role as an operations and maintenance base for the Scottish renewables industry is something we will embrace as we build on the excellent reputation we have already established within the existing oil and gas industry.”
In August of last year The Crown Estate awarded the EOWDC an exclusivity agreement as an offshore wind demonstration site. In December 2010 a grant award of up to €40m was confirmed from the EU as part of wider proposals to invest in key energy and internet broadband infrastructure projects. The EU Grant will support both development and capital costs associated with the EOWDC. Dates will be released shortly for a series of consultation events which will allow the public to view the detailed Environmental Impact Assessment.