DONALD Trump today pulled the plug on any future investment on his £750 million golf resort in Aberdeenshire after the Government gave the go ahead to the “monstrous” offshore wind farm planned for the doorstep of his Menie estate in Aberdeenshire.
But he vowed to spend “whatever it takes” to prevent the 11 turbine scheme in Aberdeen Bay standing in the way offurther investments on the stretch of coast where he has created the “greatest golf course in the world.”
The billionaire tycoon declared: “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.”
Mr Trump claimed: “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. “
Last year he told The Scotsman he would have walked away from investing in the Menie estate development had he not been given “assurances” by bothformer Labour First Minister Jack McConnell and First Minister Alex Salmond that the demonstratorwind farm within one and a half miles of his championship golf course would never be built.
Today the Scottish Government announced consent for the development of the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay.
Trump vs Wind farm: Timeline
Fergus Ewing, the Energy, Enterprise and Tourism Minister, 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 Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector, which could lead to a potential generation of over £7 billion to Scotland’s economy and support up to 28,000 direct jobs and a further 20,000 indirect jobs by 2020.
“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. The Centre will also generate up to 100 MW, enough electricity to meet the electricity needs of almost half the homes in Aberdeen City. It secures Aberdeen’s place as the energy capital of Europe.”
Mr Ewing continued: “In consenting this application I have put in place a number of conditions to mitigate a range of impacts.
“My role was in determination of assessing the offshore elements of this development in relation to the Electricity Act consent. An application for a marine licence which is also required for the development is under consideration and will be determined in due course. There is another consent relating to the Blackdog sub-station development which is also required is a matter for Aberdeenshire Council.”
A Government spokesman said 465 letters of supprt for the project had been received with only 148 representations objecting to the proposal were received.
The offshore wind farm development, spearheaded by Swedish electricity company Vattenfall, will stretch from Aberdeen to an area off Blackdog, an estimated mile and a half from the Menie links. The turbines will be up to 640ft high.
The cutting-edge project is a demonstration facility for next generation wind turbines and associated technology. With expected capital expenditure of more than £230 million, it is claimed the EOWDC could prove to be a major investment in Scotland’s renewables infrastructure and a vital boost to its offshore wind ambitions.
EOWDC project spokesman Iain Todd said: “The Scottish Government’s most welcome approval for the EOWDC is extremely positive news for both Scotland and the UK’s offshore wind industry as it helps position Scotland, the UK and Europe at the global vanguard of the sector.”
He continued: “The decision also confirms Aberdeen City and Shire’s status as a world-class energy hub, bringing with it significant economic benefits which will be pivotal to ensuring the region’s long-term prosperity.
“The project partners will assess the consent and associated conditions as part of the planning and programming for the next phase of the scheme.”
He added: “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.”
The EOWDC is a joint venture between Vattenfall – Europe’s sixth largest generator of electricity – the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (AREG), a pioneering private-public partnership, and consortium partner Technip Offshore Wind, a leading provider of specialist offshore wind installation and project management services.
Morag McCorkindale, chief operating officer for AREG, said: “This project presents a huge opportunity to help the region diversify its energy-based economy and attract inward investment. The EOWDC places the region at the heart of the development of cutting-edge technologies and innovation to serve UK Round 3 offshore wind developments and is anticipated to become a chief centre of European importance.
“The decision is also a positive sign for Scotland’s renewables industry. A number of reports have recognised the urgent need for facilities like the EOWDC as being of strategic importance to accelerating the development of an efficient, cost effective and technologically-advanced offshore wind sector to support the security of our national energy supply.”
The Scotsman broke the news of the Government’s go ahead to a shocked George Sorial, the executive vice- president of the Trump Organisation who is in charge of international development, as he arrived in Aberdeenshire to attend a meeting of the local planning authority where proposals for a giant marquee at the Menie estate are due to be discussed.
He said he would need to study the Government announcement before being able to respond.
The go ahead for the EOWDC was welcomed by environmental campaigners and business leaders in the North east.
Dr Richard Dixon, the director of Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “Renewable energy is already playing a huge role in reducing Scotland’s climate change emissions. Offshore wind will be a huge part of our energy future and this scheme is a big step forward.”
He added: “This development will help make sure we get the right kind of turbines in the right places as we harness the energy of the winds off our coast. Giving the go-ahead for this scheme is a boost for jobs and will help us cut carbon emissions.
“Well done to the Scottish Government for standing up to Donald Trump’s threats and bluster.”
Robert Collier, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The North-east is already established as a global hub for the oil and gas industry. The development of the EOWDC will enable the region to extend its reach with regard to offshore wind, further enhancing our renewable energy expertise and drawing upon our strong engineering and technology skills base.
“This is an important development for the region.”
Dr Sam Gardner, Senior Climate Change Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said:”Giving the go-ahead to this off-shore 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.However, the Scottish Government needs to show the same level of leadership it has on renewables when it comes to reducing our reliance on fossil fuels in the housing and transport sectors.
“The debate later today in the Scottish Parliament on the Government’s draft climate action plan will test whether the will is there to make all sectors of our economy truly low carbon.”
Wind farm ‘major opportunity’ for region
Tom Smith, chairman of ACSEF, the local economic forum, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in cementing Aberdeen City and Shire as a global energy hub. The EOWDC, which has attracted 40 million Euros of EU funding, is ideally located within Scotland’s energy corridor – Energetica. Much more than an offshore wind farm, it represents a major opportunity for our region and for Scotland to be at the cutting edge of the development of offshore wind equipment, technologies and services, leveraging considerable economic value.”
He continued: “Today’s decision coupled with the recent announcement of the progress of the Peterhead CCS demonstrator project are putting Aberdeen City and Shire on the map as home of the next age of energy and helping diversify our economy.”
Mr Smith added: “We appreciate and sympathise with the concerns raised by the Trump Organisation but, given the national economic significance of both projects, we firmly believe they can co-exist. Indeed both projects exemplify the vision for Energetica which is about creating a unique environment, attracting energy businesses to locate close to well-designed communities with world-class leisure and tourism amenities set within a natural coastal setting.”
First Minister Alex Salmond claimed the go ahead for the EOWDC would put Scotland in “pole position” in the battle to harness offshore wind technology.
Mr Salmond, speaking in his role as the MSP for Aberdeenshire East, said: “I welcome this decision by Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing. 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.”