Nicola Sturgeon opens windfarm Donald Trump branded ‘vandalism’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Magnus Hall, president of  Vattenfall, at the ceremony to officially open the EOWDC. Picture: Alison Campsie
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon with Magnus Hall, president of Vattenfall, at the ceremony to officially open the EOWDC. Picture: Alison Campsie
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped Donald Trump would “change his mind” over the offshore windfarm visible from his North East golf course given the benefits now being generated by the green energy development.

Ms Sturgeon was on board the ship that sailed out of Aberdeen for the official opening of the The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), which is made up of 11 of the most powerful turbines in the world.

A single rotation of a blade can generate enough electricity to power a home for a day.

Already, the £300m development is exporting the equivalent of 70 per cent of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand to the National Grid and has the capacity to meet the energy needs of 80,000 homes a year.

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Mr Trump made three legal bids to block the development of the offshore windfarm, which sits 1.5 miles off the coast of Aberdeen and is visible from the Trump International Golf Links at Menie.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, which President Donald Trump tried to block, officially opened today off the coast of Aberdeen. It is made up of 11 of the most powerful turbines in the world.

The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, which President Donald Trump tried to block, officially opened today off the coast of Aberdeen. It is made up of 11 of the most powerful turbines in the world.

The long bitter row over the development ended up in the UK Supreme Court with Mr Trump branding the development by Swedish firm Vattenfall as an “act of public vandalism.”

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Today, Ms Sturgeon said the official opening of the windfarm was “a proud day for Scotland” and underlined the country’s reputation as a world leader in renewables and particularly offshore wind power.

Asked if she had a message for Mr Trump, she said: “Well I think maybe on his next trip to Scotland he will come and see this fantastic development and change his mind.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped Mr Trump would change his views over the development given it was now up and running.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped Mr Trump would change his views over the development given it was now up and running.

“This is important for renewable energy and its an asset to Aberdeen and Scotland for a whole variety of other reasons as well.

“Maybe we can yet persuade the President that this is a fantastic development.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “It’s had it hurdles and its had it opponents. But I hope that the beauty of what we are seeing today will in time be capable of persuading even the sternest of critics.”

The offshore windfarm in Aberdeen Bay, which was first raised as a possibility back in 2003, will produce green electricity as well as test the latest technology for the offshore renewables industry.

Piper Norman Fiddes was on board to mark the official opening of the EOWDC.

Piper Norman Fiddes was on board to mark the official opening of the EOWDC.

It is set to produce 312 GWh of clean energy a year, enough to supply the equivalent of just under 80,000 British homes.

The EOWDC has deployed several innovations, including the use of ‘suction bucket jacket foundations’ to fix the turbines to the sea bed.

The suction buckets - which weigh 1,800 tonnes - fix the turbines in place using water pressure instead of hammering them to the sea bed in a bid to reduce the risk to marine life.

The method is quicker that traditional approaches. Less than two weeks after the first suction bucket was installed, the first turbines was in place.

Each blade of the turbine is 80m long - slightly taller than the Wallace Monument with the rotor having a circumference greater than that of the London Eye.

Magnus Hall, president and chief executive officer of the Vattenfall said: “The innovation we have implemented at the EOWDC - and will continue to demonstrate - will turbocharge the growth of a global, low cost offshore wind industry.

“And is doing so, do much to secure a fossil fuel free future for us all.”

A €40mn grant from the EU backed the Vattenfall development, which was supported by the Aberdeen Renewables Energy Group, which brought together expertise in the North East for the project.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “This is a happy day for Vattenfall and all the partners involved. This is a very important project for Vattenfall and for the North East of Scotland.

“Scotland has been quite brave in pursuing renewables early on and we are now seeing the benefits of that.

“We obviously had an objection from Mr Trump and he is as perfectly entitled as anybody to lodge and objection . It was dealt with in the appropriate manner and we are happy with the outcome.

“I hope that Mr Trump will look at the econonmics of projects like this and these technologies and will understand why we are so committed to investing in this as a country.

“It is about making a more sustainable future for the world - not just for ourselves.

“I appreciate that Mr Trump has a clear view on climate change and renewables but the Scottish Government has our own thoughts on this.

“We are in line with the sentiment of the mainstream and of European and progressive countries that climate change is a shared challenge for us all.”