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Despite Brexit, Swedish energy company Vattenfall commits to £300m UK offshore windfarm

Vattenfall commits to £300m UK offshore windfarm despite Brexit
Aberdeen Bay windfarm near Donald Trump golf course will be key testing ground for reducing cost of offshore turbines,
Guardian, , 21 Jul 16, The Swedish energy company Vattenfall is pushing ahead with a £300m windfarm off the coast of Aberdeen despite last month’s EU referendum vote.

The offshore windfarm has been dogged by years of legal battles between Donald Trump and the Scottish government over its impact on his golf course, which the tycoon ultimately lost in the courts last year.

But on Thursday Vattenfall announced its final investment decision on the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, which sees it buying out AberdeenRenewable Energy Group’s 25% share for an undisclosed sum.

The 11 turbines in the development will send clean energy back to the grid, but will also be a key testing ground for bringing down the cost of the technology, which is around twice as expensive as turbines on land. Ministers made clear last year that offshore was “still too expensive” and further subsidies would be conditional on the industry cutting cost.
Donald Trump’s defeat over windfarm welcomed by green campaigners

The 92.4MW project in Aberdeen Bay is all about trying experimental technologies to drive down the costs, Vattenfall said. “It’s all geared to a cost reduction,” said Gunnar Groebler, the senior vice president at Vattenfall. “We expect a lot of findings, a lot of options to further reduce the cost. If you look in Europe, the cost is clearly going south. This windfarm will help us get to the next level.”

Among the cost-cutting measures is a means of attaching the turbines to the seabed using technology that uses less material and higher voltage cabling that loses less of the electricity generated.

But the investment decision is also a vote of confidence in the industry, after the vote to leave the EU. Siemens said Brexit could freeze its offshore wind plans in the UK, though it later rowed back on the remarks.

Groebler said Vattenfall was in the UK to stay. “We’ve repeatedly said the UK is a fundamentally interesting market for us, especially in wind, both onshore and offshore, and we have no reason to change that opinion. The best proof is the decision we are making, this is not something we do lightly.”

He added that it was too early to say what the new UK government’s approach would be towards the industry, but he had seen no signs it would differ from government strategy under David Cameron……

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish energy minister, welcomed the investment decision. “This project will keep our nation at the forefront of innovation by allowing energy companies to identify new ways to reduce operating costs,” he said.

WWF Scotland’s climate and energy policy officer, Fabrice Leveque, said: “This is very positive news and provides a welcome boost to Scotland’s offshore wind sector. Scotland has 25% of Europe’s offshore wind resource and this new development provides a great opportunity to progress on capturing the benefits at lowest cost and least impact to the environment.”

Vattenfall said the windfarm will be operational by 2018. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jul/21/swedens-vattenfall-commits-uk-offshore-windfarm-despite-brexit-aberdeen-donald-trump-golf-course

July 27, 2016 - Posted by | renewable, UK

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