Scottish offshore wind farm hit by Trump lawsuits starts generating power
An offshore wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen, Scotland, that was heavily opposed by Donald Trump has supplied its first power to the grid through a 66 kilovolt (kV) subsea cabling system.
Vattenfall, the firm running the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), said it was the first time cabling of this capacity had been installed on a commercial offshore wind project in Scotland.
The project hit headlines in 2014 when Donald Trump lost a legal challenge against plans for the 11-turbine farm, arguing that it would spoil the view from his golf resort.
After losing this challenge, he escalated the case to the Supreme Court in 2015 where he subsequently lost again, clearing the way for the project to go ahead.
The generation of power was hailed as a significant milestone for the project, which is now Scotland’s largest offshore wind test site.
The turbines at the site are the most powerful in the world, standing 191 metres tall, with each blade 80m long and a 164m rotor that has a circumference larger than that of the London Eye. The development is expected to reach full power later in the summer.
Power from the turbines is being exported through two ‘strings’ of 4km export cable with a capacity of 66kV.
Compared with conventional cabling of 33kV, less inter-array cabling is required leading to reduced construction cost. Overall, just over 21km of cabling has been installed from the EOWDC to Blackdog Substation.
Project director Adam Ezzamel said: “We have overcome major engineering and technical challenges to achieve first power on the cutting-edge EOWDC, thanks to the collective expertise of Vattenfall and our contractors MHI Vestas, Boskalis and Murphy.
“Our priority now is to fully commission the wind farm safely throughout the summer.
“First power from EOWDC reinforces north-east Scotland’s status as Europe’s energy capital and will help establish the region as an international centre for offshore wind generation.”
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said the first power was a “very significant milestone”.
He said: “I congratulate the project team at Vattenfall for not only a successful installation but also their achievement in generating electricity from the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbines which, with each rotation at full power, will generate enough energy to power a home for 24 hours.
“Once the test and demonstration site is fully operational, not only will this help the offshore wind sector to further reduce its costs through lessons learned during operations, but the output from EOWDC will itself add significantly to Scotland’s renewable electricity generating capacity, building on figures announced last month that showed installed capacity reached a record 10.4GW in the first three months of 2018 and which also provisionally indicated that renewable sources met an equivalent of 69 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand in 2017.”
Jean Morrison, chair of Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, added: “The timescale between the first installation and first power is remarkable. The techniques and innovations developed at the EOWDC will be hugely significant for the industry and should help to reduce the future costs of offshore wind.
“As energy demand grows, we need to maximise the returns from our natural resources and offshore wind can help us do that.”