Wind test centre gets go-ahead – Trump trumped
The Scottish Government today announced consent for the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay.
The development consists of 11 wind turbines and their connecting cables, sited between two and 4.5 km off the Aberdeenshire coast, capable of generating up to 100 MW.
The Centre, which is not a conventional wind farm, but an offshore deployment centre, will allow offshore wind developers and supply chain companies to test cutting edge wind technology in an offshore environment before commercial deployment. This will reduce development risks and capital costs by providing the opportunity to test real time reliability and capacity generation and will ultimately support the creation of jobs across the industry. The Centre will reinforce Aberdeen’s place as the energy capital of Europe.
Consent is granted subject to conditions which will mitigate a range of impacts. These include the agreement of a Radar Mitigation Scheme, a Defence Radar Mitigation Scheme, a Black Dog Firing Range Management Plan, a Construction Method Statement, a Design Statement, an expert panael to inform thea Project Environmental Management Programme, a Construction Noise Management Plan, a Vessel Management Plan, a Cable Laying Strategy, and a Navigational Safety Plan and the establishment of an expert panel to inform the Project Environmental Management Programme. Further details of these conditions and others are set out in decision letter and consent.the design document.
465 public representations in support of the proposal were received. In spitre of Donald Trump’s best efforts only 148 representations objecting to the proposal were received.
The planning decision for the substation at Blackdog, Aberdeenshire will be a matter for Aberdeenshire Council.
Lease of berth at Hunterston Test Centre for Offshore Wind offered
Scottish Enterprise is developing one of the three test berths and is seeking initial expressions of interest from manufacturers interested in leasing this from July 2015.
Hunterston has a key role to play in developing the offshore wind supply chain in Scotland and the UK. Its wind resource replicates offshore conditions, and this coupled with its existing grid connection, makes it an ideal site for the testing facility.
The site’s location, less than an hour from Glasgow airport, gives manufacturers 24 hour access to make modifications and repairs – critical for early series prototype turbines.
In addition, SSE is working with its supply chain partners Siemens and Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe to test their latest turbine technology at two of the berths.
Scottish Enterprise is hoping to attract a turbine manufacturer to the third berth who will commit to locating significant research and development or manufacturing facilities in Scotland.
Hunterston has also been identified in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan as being a site capable of accommodating manufacturing and operations and maintenance facilities. The site owner, Clydeport, has identified 40 acres of land which is immediately available for renewables related development.
Adrian Gillespie, director of Energy and Low Carbon Technologies at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scotland is increasingly becoming recognised as a centre of expertise in offshore wind research, development and manufacturing. Thanks to our vast resources, skills, world-class research and an expanding supply chain, we have already seen a number of key players in the industry announce investment in Scotland.
“The difficulty of finding suitable locations for this type of testing facility mean there are currently no sites of this kind in the UK, and a very limited number across Europe – all of which have limited access.
“This means that Hunterston has a crucial role to play in supporting the development of the offshore wind industry at a European level.”
The invitation for expressions of interest coincides with the Scottish Renewables Annual Conference, being held at Edinburgh International Conference Centre, which will attract more than 700 delegates over two days.
Carbon from power generation to fall by four fifths by 2030
Scotland has set a target to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation by more than four-fifths by 2030, underlining the huge market for offshore wind beyond 2020.
First Minister Alex Salmond revealed the new target in an address this morning at the Scottish Renewables/Scottish Enterprise Offshore Wind & Supply Chain Conference, Aberdeen.
In 2010 emissions from electricity grid activity in Scotland were estimated to amount to 347 grams of carbon dioxide per Kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity generated.
A target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030 – in line with independent advice from the UK Committee on Climate Change – is contained within Scotland’s revised Offshore Wind Route Map, launched today, and also in the Scottish Government’s draft second report on proposals and polices (RPP2) to meet overall emissions targets, being published at Holyrood this afternoon.
The UK Government has resisted industry and Scottish Government calls to use its Energy Bill, currently proceeding through Westminster, to set a decarbonisation target for the power sector now – instead, legislating for a decision on whether to set such a target to be made in 2016 at the earliest (i.e., after the next UK election).
Mr Salmond said: “We face a global imperative to tackle climate change and how we power our economies is a key part of that. Offshore wind has a strong, vibrant future, with plans to install up to 10 GW of capacity in Scottish waters over the next decade. More sites are being scoped for deployment in the 2020s – alongside commercial wave and tidal generation – as grid and interconnection upgrades and storage are further developed.
The First Minister also announced the signing of new Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between Highland & Islands Enterprise (HIE) and four key ports in the region to support the development of the offshore wind sector. The partnership aims to help the ports attract a potential £100m of investment to the Highlands. The four joint-working agreements with Port of Ardersier, Kishorn Port Limited and Cromarty Firth Port Authority and Global Energy Nigg will support owners and operators to secure consents, market opportunities, attract investments and enable further development.
Dan Finch, UK Managing Director of EDP Renovaveis and co-chair of Scotland’s Offshore Wind Industry Group (OWIG), said: “To build a long-term sustainable industry and to insulate consumers from rising fossil fuel costs, we need a strong political commitment to renewables. Setting decarbonisation targets is a key part of delivering the confidence necessary for investment.”
He said: “We are working hard with our enterprise agencies both to secure overseas investment into our world-leading renewable energy industry and to support Scottish businesses to seize the huge opportunities available, working in partnership with inward investors and the rest of the supply chain to create jobs and help re-industrialise communities right across Scotland. These ports are ideally-positioned to become key hubs for the deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy – across manufacturing, assembly, operations and maintenance – and the new Memorandums of Understanding with Highlands & Islands Enterprise underpin the importance that we attach to ensuring that all of Scotland wins from the renewables revolution.”
HIE Chief Executive Alex Paterson added:
“The offshore wind supply chain is showing strong interest in Scottish ports and harbours, and these official agreements give the market the strongest possible statement that the ports in the Highlands and Islands are open for renewables business. HIE is fully committed to working with ports across the region to ensure that they are ready to support manufacture, fabrication, assembly, deployment and operational support for the Scottish, UK and European offshore wind market.”
SPR announce ‘time out’ for environmental studies
The controversial Argyll Array windfarm development proposed for the waters off Tiree has been put on hold for 12 months during which period Scottish Power Renewables says it intends to ‘work with others to study the results of detailed environmental suudies of the site’
The short statement goes on to say that “The pause n the project programme will also enable the company to monitor the offshore wind industry’s progress in relation to turbine, foundation and support vessel technology with a view to developing technical solutions that are able to deal with the physical conditions at the windfarm site’. All development work will stop at the end of the year, with the situation being reviewed at the end of 2013.
The project has been fought tooth and nail by a well-organised resistance campaign – No-Tiree-Array- who have recently enlisted Tiree’s transient populations of basking sharks and great northern divers to the struggle. What part their efforts have played in this hiatus – or perhaps full stop – will be for history to decide, but there is certainly a mass of environmental data to be sifted through. It can be no co-incidence though that this announcement comes hot on the heels of a proposal revealed at an Open Day on Tiree last month to dramatically reduce the footprint of the development.
In the meantime, SPR have assured the islanders that the £10,000 already offered for 2012-2013 by the RESET fund to support to eligible candidates pursuing post-school education or training will not be affected.