An offshore windfarm and test centre in Aberdeen Bay could be operational in two years, one of the companies behind the project said yesterday.
Swedish utility Vattenfall, which wants to develop the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) alongside engineering firm Technip and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, said it expected Marine Scotland to make the final decision on the £200million-plus plans later this year.
Vattenfall spokesman David Rodger said, if Marine Scotland approved the development, work would start early next year.
Contracts for fabrication and other construction work will not be agreed until after Marine Scotland’s decision. Vattenfall has worked with German wind turbine manufacturer REpower Systems in the past for the Ormonde windfarm offshore Cumbria.
Mr Rodger said the EOWDC would feature 11 turbines capable of producing enough electricity to power more than half the homes in Aberdeen.
But he added: “The main purpose is to test machines ahead of deployment elsewhere in the UK. It means the Aberdeen project could be the stepping stone for a multibillion-pound offshore wind industry.”
Mr Rodger said the EOWDC could play a vital role in the development of Scotland’s offshore wind sector and improving technology. He said he still believed the project and Donald Trump’s resort plans, near Balmedie, could be developed alongside each other.
Mr Rodger said: “There are other examples of leisure projects which sit in close proximity to windfarms and we see no reason why EOWDC cannot operate in harmony with Mr Trump’s plans.”
Mr Rodger said the EOWDC plans, which have already been scaled back and moved in the past after Mr Trump raised concerns, could not be moved again.
He said: “We believe it is in the optimum site and we are now in the planning process with what we think is a strong case for the development of the project.”