By a Newsnet reporter
The Scottish government has given approval for the development of an 11 turbine wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen which will generate up to 100MW of power, enough to supply almost 50,000 homes.
Development of the project was bitterly contested by American businessman Donald Trump, who claimed it would spoil the view from his golf resort on the Menie Estate.
Welcoming the decision to go ahead with the project, First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“The north-east of Scotland is a world energy capital and, in order to continue to prosper, we have to be at the forefront of all forms of energy research – marine renewables, as well as oil and gas.
“A deployment centre will put Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in pole position for the development of offshore wind technology. Our ambition must be to see Scotland as the home of research, development, fabrication and deployment of deep-water marine technology.
“People in the north-east of Scotland well understand the importance of a deployment centre. This is reflected in the 465 representations in support of the offshore proposal, compared to 148 against.
“The Energy Minister was responsible for determining the offshore aspects of this proposal. Onshore is a matter for local decision-making.”
A furious Mr Trump has threatened to take legal action, decrying the plan as “ridiculous”, and has said he will put his plans to build a hotel on the Menie Estate on hold.
Speaking in response to the announcement, Mr Trump said: “This was a purely political decision, as dictated by Alex Salmond, a man whose obsession with obsolete wind technology will destroy the magnificence and beauty of Scotland.
“Likewise, tourism, Scotland’s biggest industry, will be ruined.
“We will spend whatever monies are necessary to see to it that these huge and unsightly industrial wind turbines are never constructed. All over the world they are being abandoned, but in Scotland they are being built.
“We will put our future plans in Aberdeen on hold, as will many others, until this ridiculous proposal is defeated.
“Likewise, we will be bringing a lawsuit within the allocated period of time to stop what will definitely be the destruction of Aberdeen and Scotland itself.”
However the announcement to go ahead with the wind farm was welcomed by environmental groups. Dr Sam Gardner, senior climate change policy officer at WWF Scotland, said:
“Giving the go-ahead to this offshore wind test centre is the right decision, demonstrating that no amount of bluster from US billionaires such as Donald Trump will hold Scotland back from becoming a cleaner, greener, job-creating nation.”
Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:
“Offshore wind will be a huge part of our energy future and this scheme is a big step forward.
“Well done to the Scottish government for standing up to Donald Trump’s threats and bluster.”
Energy 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 proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre will give the industry the ability to test and demonstrate new technologies in order to accelerate its growth.
“It secures Aberdeen’s place as the energy capital of Europe. 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.”