European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, Aberdeen, Scotland


The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) will be located off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland. The project consists of a commercial offshore wind farm (Aberdeen offshore wind farm) with an installed capacity of up to 100MW and associated facilities for research, testing and training.

The £230m ($349m) project is being developed by the Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Ltd (AOWFL) joint venture, which consists of Vattenfall, Technip and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG).

The wind project received approval from the Scottish Government in March 2013 after being subject to controversies for more than two years. The offshore site investigation work was complete by April 2016, and full offshore construction is expected to begin between late 2017 or early-2018.

Upon its completion, the project will generate clean power for nearly half of Aberdeen's households, and serve as a key centre for testing new offshore wind generation technologies for future application in the country.

The wind deployment centre is being promoted as a strategic project for spearheading cost-effective wind power development using the latest technologies.

Scotland aspires to be the hub of European wind power with its target of total power generation from renewable sources by 2020.

Opposition from billionaire Donald Trump

"The £230m ($349m) project is being developed by the joint venture company Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm."

American billionaire Donald Trump, who is creating the £750m ($1.1bn) Trump International Golf Links resort near the project site, has been trying to block the development of the wind deployment centre since late-2010.

His opposition focuses on the claim that the wind farm will distort the sea view of the resort.

Mr Trump has also mobilised criticisms over the project, including the allegation that the wind farm's noisy and unsightly turbines will destroy Scotland's natural heritage. He also highlighted the objection from the UK Ministry of Defence that the wind farm will affect the operation of military radar. The ministry, however, later dropped the opposition.

In April 2012, Mr Trump appeared in Scottish Parliament to build his case against the development of the wind farm. The government granted permission to develop the wind project in March 2013.

Mr Trump, however, has publicly stated that he will pursue his opposition against the project by filing a lawsuit.

Development of the offshore wind farm

AOWFL was awarded the rights by the Crown Estate in August 2010 to develop the wind power project.

The consent application for a standard wind farm with 11 turbines was submitted in August 2011. The application was later altered to build a demonstration wind power project instead with new generation turbines technologies, complemented by research and testing facilities at the site.
A rallying call was also issued in 2011 to bring together turbine manufacturers, universities and research institutes for their involvement in the wind deployment project.

An addendum was submitted in July 2012, proposing an increase of the maximum turbine height and rotor diameter in order to accommodate the latest turbine models.

The planning application for onshore works such as cable route and substation was submitted to the Aberdeenshire Council in January 2013.

Funding the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre

The project has been awarded a European Union grant of up to €40m ($51.2m) under the European Energy Programme for Recovery (EEPR). The remainder cost of the project will be borne by the promoters.

Details of the EOWDC, near Aberdeen

The wind farm will be installed with 11 Round three offshore wind turbine models between 2km and 5km off the Aberdeenshire coast.

"Scotland aspires to be the hub of European wind power with its target of total power generation from renewable sources by 2020."

Round three offshore wind turbine models represent the latest models of high-capacity turbines for low-cost power generation. The new turbine technologies will be tested offshore to demonstrate their capabilities and receive independent validation and accreditation before commercial deployment.

The turbines will be installed in an area of 7km² in water depths ranging between 20m and 30m. The maximum tip height of the turbines will be 651ft (198m), and the maximum rotor diameter of turbines will be 172m.

The front row turbines of the wind farm will be shorter in height (180.5m) and the larger turbines will be installed in the seaward rows. The turbine models and their foundations have not been finalised yet.

As many as 12 turbine suppliers had evinced interest to deploy their latest turbine models at the wind farm. Working agreements with six suppliers were signed in August 2012. The suppliers are reportedly Vistas, Repower, Gamesa, Siemens, Mitsubishi and Samsung.

Power transmission

The electricity generated by the turbines will be transmitted through a 13km-long array cable to an offshore transformer. The power output of the wind farm will be fed the national electricity transmission system (NETS) through four 33kV underground export cables.

Two onshore substations have been proposed on the land south to the Hareburn Terrace near the village of Blackdog. A second alternative for a cable route and substations is also being considered by the developers.

Contractors involved

Fugro performed offshore works for the construction of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre in April 2016.

MHI Vestas Offshore was contracted to provide V164-8.0 MW turbines for the EOWDC. Boskalis was awarded a contract for offshore balance-of-plant works comprising the construction and installation of the offshore infrastructure that also includes foundations and cabling.

Murphy is responsible for providing onshore substation and cabling work for the project.

Air traffic services company NATS was contracted to deliver radar mitigation services for the EOWDC in July 2016. In December 2016, JDR received a contract from VBMS to provide 66kV inter-array and export cables for the EOWDC.


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