AN OFFSHORE wind farm opposed by US tycoon Donald Trump could help cut the cost of renewable energy production by £45 billion, MSPs have been told.
Swedish electricity firm Vattenfall is facing strong opposition from Mr Trump over its proposed European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the coast of Aberdeen. The project is now being considered by Scottish ministers.
Jason Ormiston, a senior executive with the firm, told Holyrood’s energy committee yesterday that schemes such as the planned 11-turbine test site in the North Sea could help turn Scotland into a “world leader” in the renewable energy sector.
However, George Sorial, vice-president of The Trump Organisation, responded with a strongly worded attack on the EOWDC plans, which he claimed would cost the taxpayer billions of pounds in subsidies for overseas developers.
Mr Ormiston, Vattenfall’s head of public and regulatory affairs, said that projects such as the wind farm off the Aberdeen coast were “urgently required” to meet the UK’s renewable energy targets.
He said: “They could see gross value added to the UK economy of £7bn and a cumulative cost-reduction impact of £45bn for the whole offshore wind sector in UK waters by 2050.”
Mr Ormiston went on to say that the scheme would also help the Scottish Government meet its flagship renewable energy target of creating all of Scotland’s electricity from green sources by 2020.
He said: “It’s going to be important for the delivery of the 2020 targets. It would place the north-east of Scotland, and Scotland as a whole, as a world leader in offshore wind technology.”
The energy committee has already heard evidence from Mr Trump, who is threatening to pull the plug on his £750 million golf resort development in Aberdeenshire because of the plans for the “monstrous” 11-turbine offshore development.
Mr Sorial said the expansion of wind power would “lead to even higher energy bills” for Scots, as he claimed that only overseas countries would benefit from schemes such as the Vattenfall development.
He said: “Vattenfall is a company that survives completely through subsidies from the taxpayer, and if you talk about £45bn for the wind power sector, then that is what we are going to be looking at in taxes.
“Vattenfall creates nothing and is a burden on the taxpayer. The only benefit is to countries like Sweden.
“We would be taking revenue from Scotland and sending it to Sweden by paying for Vattenfall’s EOWDC scheme.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “An application for consent for the 11-turbine offshore wind demonstration project in Aberdeenshire has been submitted to Marine Scotland. We are currently considering the views of consultees, interested parties and the public.
“A decision will then be taken by Scottish ministers following full and thorough consideration of all material issues relevant to the application.”