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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 10:57 GMT 11:57 UK
Offshore wind farm plan unveiled
Waves pound Aberdeen Harbour's south breakwater
Waves pound Aberdeen Harbour's south breakwater
Plans have been drawn up for a chain of 20 wind turbines one kilometre off Aberdeen beach, costing about 40m.

The wind farm would be linked to a flagship "Energy Futures Centre" to be built on a prime beachfront site.

The project has been unveiled by the city council, whose leader Kate Dean stressed that the public would be consulted about the wind farm proposal.

The centre and the wind turbines are designed to underpin Aberdeen's place as Europe's energy capital and its commitment to the development of renewable energy.

Wind favour

People in Scotland appear to be warming to the idea of wind farms. The findings of a survey commissioned by the Scottish Executive earlier this year showed four out of five favoured an increase in electricity generated from wind energy.

The Scottish Green Party saw its numbers in the Scottish Parliament rise from one to seven MSPs after May's elections.

Looking out to sea from Aberdeen beach
The turbines would form a line off Aberdeen beach
An area of suitably shallow water has been identified from north of Aberdeen Harbour entrance to Blackdog Rock.

This is about eight kilometres long and could accommodate 20 two-megawatt turbines, according to the group behind the plans, the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg).

The organisation is made up of 40 leading oil and gas companies were renewables interests, research institutes and public bodies.

A 6.5-acre site on the Queen's Links has been earmarked for the Energy Futures Centre, which would have four main elements:

  • A state-of-the-art visitor attraction on the theme of energy

  • Renewable energy electricity generation and demonstration projects

  • Offices to house an international development hub

  • Incubator units for new and young businesses.

Areg is looking at the centre being powered by the offshore wind farm, which would be a "demonstration of Aberdeen's commitment to clean energy as well as providing a substantial income stream for its future sustainability".

Entry to the visitor attractions would be free and income required to make the centre self-financing to avoid becoming a drain on the public purse.

Reservations expected

Councillor Dean said "the jury was still out" on the wind farm proposal and there would have to be extensive consultation before the council reached a view.

"I can assure every citizen that this aspect will be fully evaluated," she said.

"There will be reservations voiced on this aspect and we will want to see the detailed studies before coming to a firm conclusion."

A study into the feasibility and environmental impact is required as part of the process of building a wind farm.

If approved, experts say the turbines will take seven years to put into place.

Aberdeen Harbour Board general manager Barclay Braithwaite said he recognised the importance of the proposals to the north-east.

There were 16,000 vessel arrivals and departures every year and these should be taken into account, along with the use of the bay by ships lying at anchor, he added.




SEE ALSO:
Public backing for green power
24 Aug 03  |  Scotland
Green power blueprint unveiled
25 Mar 03  |  Scotland
Green light for offshore wind farm
19 Mar 03  |  Scotland
Wind farm given approval
21 Jan 03  |  Scotland
Fresh wind farm drive
22 Nov 02  |  Scotland


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