Donald 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, warned First Minister Alex Salmond earlier this month that his drive to establish Scotland as a renewables powerhouse will “single-handedly” destroy the economic wellbeing of Scotland.
But, in a major boost for the consortium behind plans for the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), Professor Alex Kemp, the country’s most respected expert on the North Sea economy, will pledge his full support for the development on the opening day of the annual renewables showcase at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre.
Prof Kemp, professor of petroleum economics at Aberdeen University, will be joined by other “champions” of the divisive green energy scheme including Neil Kermode, managing director of the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney – the only accredited wave and tidal test centre for marine renewable energy in the world – and Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK, which represents more than 200 companies in the UK subsea supply chain.
Speaking ahead of the conference, Prof Kemp, who is also director of the Aberdeen Centre for Research in Energy Economics and Finance, said the £230m EOWDC could prove to be a “real Scottish success story”.
He said: “Research and development is integral to the successful advancement of Scotland and the UK’s renewable energy industry. It facilitates robust solutions and leads to wider long-term benefits such as the acceleration and enhancement of cost reduction and increased productivity. All this should subsequently improve the national financing of renewables.
“The EOWDC has the potential to put Scotland and the UK on the global renewables map as leaders in offshore wind – Aberdeen has the energy knowledge, experience and skills to bring this to fruition.”
Mr Kermode also praised the project. He said: “I have seen the strides made in wave and tidal energy when the oil industry’s engineering skills and tools have been brought to bear on our sector. Our test centre has provided the focal point for this local talent and expertise.
“I firmly believe that the EOWDC will fulfil a similar role for offshore wind and will, therefore, help anchor the economic benefits of building up essential know-how across the renewables industry here in Scotland.”
The development, spearheaded by Swedish electricity company Vattenfall, will stretch from Aberdeen to an area off Blackdog, an estimated mile and a half from the Trump-owned Menie links.