After about 15 years in planning, the long awaited and largely hated Aberdeen Bay wind farm has taken shape in recent weeks. I seem to recall early reports saying that the turbines, located on the horizon, would be barely visible from shore. Well that was a lie. The huge towers completely dominate the once unspoiled and beautiful scenery of Balmedie Beach. Those who see this as environmental protection have sick minds. And President Trump, who owns a golf course not far away, and who fought this project in the courts, is going to be mighty angry.
The wind farm comprises 11 * 8.4 MW Vestas 164 turbines giving a total installed capacity of 93.2 MW. Here is how Vattenfall, the operator, describe the scheme using the all too familiar venacular of renewables ideology:
- Annually produce 312 GWh.
- Have an installed capacity of 93.2MW
- Annually displace 134,128 tonnes of CO2
- Remove the equivalent of 736,817 cars from UK roads throughout its lifetime
- Produce enough electricity every year to meet the equivalent annual demand of 79,209 homes
- Generate more than the equivalent of 70% of Aberdeen’s domestic electricity demand and 23% of Aberdeen’s total demand
- Annually invest £150,000 to a Community Benefit Scheme
312 GWh per annum translates to a capacity factor of ~38%. Even although England, Denmark and Germany have vastly bigger offshore wind industries, owing to their favourably shallower water, this facility offshore Aberdeen has been christened the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC). €3 million has been allocated to fund research into the environmental impact. There seems to be hope among local politicians and the press that this windfarm is somehow going to transform Aberdeen’s ailing economy that is still reeling from the 2014 oil price crash. Allow me to pour some cold water on this hope.
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