AN offshore windfarm facing strong opposition from Donald Trump has won final planning consent – but cannot go ahead until the outcome of a legal battle with the American tycoon.
The Scottish Government has awarded a marine licence to the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off Aberdeen Bay.
The project will see 11 650ft turbines built, powering thousands of homes.
Trump launched a major campaign against the £230 million windfarm, fearing it will destroy the views from his championship golf course at the Menie estate, Aberdeenshire.
The marine licence is the last permission the EOWDC needs but it remains tied up in court battles with Trump.
The tycoon’s representative said the permission was “meaningless”.
However, a spokesman for the windfarm said “another cornerstone” was in place for the scheme. But the project still lacks an investor willing to finance it and development also hinges on the company finding a “mitigation scheme” to allay Ministry of Defence fears about interference with air radar.
Trump has said he will not spend any more money on his golf course at Balmedie until the turbine plans are dropped.
Following his intervention, the project was delayed for two years and Swedish energy firm Vattenfall announced it was selling its 75 per cent stake.
George Sorial, Trump’s international development director, said granting the licence was pointless.
He added: “They have no money and are pushing a technology that has become both wasteful and obsolete.”
A windfarm spokesman said: “The EOWDC remains strategically important to capturing the potential of the offshore wind sector and maintaining Scotland’s lead in offshore renewables.”
The EOWDC formerly faced a potential crisis when Aberdeenshire Council rejected plans for a substation at Blackdog, vital to connect the turbines to the national grid. The decision has since been overturned by the Scottish Government.
The windfarm is due to come on stream in 2017, two years later than originally forecast.
After Vattenfall pulled out, Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg), which holds the remaining stake, handed over the running of the project to Aberdeen City Council.
Areg will continue to operate as a company but the council will bring its economic development activities in-house.
The windfarm was granted planning permission by the Scottish Government last year.