Proposals for 11 turbines and test centre off north-east coast given substantial backing

An offshore windfarm planned for the north-east coast has received more than £30million in European funding.

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Proposals for 11 turbines and a test centre three miles off the coast have been backed by the European Union with a grant of 40million euros (£34million).

The organisations behind the European offshore wind deployment centre (EOWDC) will now turn their attention to preparing an application to Marine Scotland for planning consent, expected to be submitted early next year.

It is hoped the windfarm, which will be sited three miles out from the coast at Blackdog, north of Aberdeen, will be operational by 2012.

The EOWDC, which is being taken forward by Vattenfall, Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg), would generate power for half the homes in Aberdeen and act as a test centre for new technology and training.

Yesterday, David Hodkinson, director and head of development of Vattenfall Wind Power in the UK, said the project will create jobs and generate investment in the north-east’s renewable energy industry.

He said: “We very much welcome the news from the European Union which confirms the considerable financial support being awarded and underlines the strategic importance of the EOWDC and a move towards a vibrant UK offshore wind industry.”

Aberdeen North MSP Brian Adam welcomed the funding and described the project as “ambitious and possibly game-changing” for Aberdeen.

He said: “Aberdeen has a big role to play in developing the renewable energy sector, putting our current expertise in the offshore environment into these new and developing technologies.

“It is with projects like this we should be able to harness our potential, not just for producing renewable electricity, but developing skills and products to export around the word and drive forward economic growth.”

Last week, American Donald Trump spoke out against the windfarm proposal because it would be close to where he is creating a £750million golf resort.

The billionaire said the turbines would “in one fell swoop destroy Scotland’s magnificent natural heritage”, and added he would “vehemently” oppose the siting of the windfarm near his development at the Menie Estate, near Balmedie.

Mr Trump has criticised the plans in the past.

The windfarm has been scaled back several times from the original scheme for 33 turbines after he threatened to drop his golf resort plans.

In addition Oil & Gas UK and Aberdeen Harbour Board voiced concerns about safety for helicopters and shipping lanes.

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