Legal and investment issues push EOWDC back two years

UK: The Vattenfall-led group behind the 100MW European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay, off Scotland's north east coast, has announced the project will be delayed by two years until 2017.

Donald Trump (Picture credit: Gage Skidmore)

Vattenfall and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, shareholders in Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm (AOWF), the company behind the 11-turbine project, said they had delayed the project to give them more time to secure investment.

In May Vattenfall announced it is seeking to secure new investment in EOWDC through a reduction in its stake in AOWF, due to constraints on its capital budgets. It could not comment on any talks with potential partners.

The group also said the legal challenges surrounding the project had an influence on the decision to postpone. Last month US businessman Donald Trump legally challenged the £230 million (EUR 270m) development in a four-day hearing in the Court of Session, Scotland's supreme civil court, in Edinburgh.

He petitioned the court for a judicial review of the Scottish government’s approval of the project, in March, which is due to make its ruling early next year.

Onshore planning issues was another reason for the postponement. In October, members of Aberdeenshire Council's Formartine area rejected an application for the construction of an electricity substation at Blackdog.

The project, which lies 2-4.5 kilometres off the Aberdeenshire coast, was due to generate power by late 2015 but following an agreement with the system operator, National Grid, they are looking at connecting to the grid in 2017.

The EOWDC is designed to allow manufacturers to test next generation offshore wind turbines. In August 2012 a memoranda of understanding with six turbine manufacturers was announced.

Peter Wesslau, Vattenfall’s UK country manager, said: "The project partners have always been aware that its aspirations to generate first power by late 2015 might not be in step with the progress of the project and indeed, that of the industry.

"Therefore, in the best interests of the project, we have worked to successfully modify the grid connection date. We will also explore opportunities for an earlier grid connection than 2017 in step with the progress of EOWDC."