The court hearing reviewing Donald Trump's complaint against the Scottish government’s decision to build an offshore wind farm in Aberdeenshire has begun in Edinburgh today.
In a ‘it’s me or the wind-farm’ fashion, the American billionaire said the Scottish government’s approval of the 11-turbine wind farm without consulting the public was unlawful and threatened to abandon his plan of building a large holiday resort on the Aberdeenshire coast if the wind-farm construction gets a go-ahead.
Stating the foreseen European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, consisting of an 100MW power plant and a test and research centre, will spoil the view from his coastal golf resort, Trump and his companies Trump International Golf Links and The Trump Organisation filed a petition in March this year after the project was given a green light, asking the court to reverse the decision.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman refused to comment on the proceedings, saying ‘the Scottish Government is committed to the successful and sustainable development of an offshore wind sector’.
The wind project, a joint venture of Vattenfall Wind Power and Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, capable of supplying clean energy to 68,000 UK households, wants to offer a test bed for offshore wind farm developers and associated supply chain companies to test new designs, prove existing products and receive independent validation and accreditation before commercial deployment.
Some of the centre’s turbines could be up to 200m tall, with an 11m turbine blade radius
Vattenfall, the majority shareholder, has already invested some £5m into the project and invited other potential investors to join. The scheme’s development is expected to cost some £230m and construction should commence in 2015.
"Scotland is home to a quarter of Europe's offshore wind resource,” said Lang Banks, director of environmental group WWF Scotland who is supporting the project. “Studies estimate that Scotland's offshore wind industry could create 28,000 jobs by 2020 and contribute over £7bn of investment to the economy. It would be a great pity if Donald Trump was in any way responsible for frustrating Scotland's ambition to generate clean power and green jobs."
Trump’s golf resort plan itself has caused certain controversy in Scotland, as it aims to build the golf course in an area of protected dunes at Menie Estate, near Balmedie, and the application was initially rejected by a local authority committee.
The current hearing, trying to reverse the approval of the wind farm, is taking place at the Court of Session in Edinburgh and is expected to last four days.