Sustainable Energy

The wind farm that Trump tried to stop goes live

Key Points
  • Via Twitter, Donald Trump had previously described the wind farm as “ill-conceived,” “asinine” and “bird killing.”
  • When fully up and running, the new facility will displace 134,128 tons of carbon dioxide per year.


An offshore wind farm in Scotland, that was fervently opposed by President Donald Trump a few years ago, has commenced operations.  

Called the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), the plant produced power for the first time Sunday, its developer Vattenfall said in a statement Monday. Power from the first of 11 turbines to go live was successfully sent to the national grid, the Swedish power company added.

The EOWDC’s path to producing power has not been without difficulties. Its development was resolutely opposed by Trump — before his days in the Oval Office — whose Aberdeenshire golf course is situated around 3.5 kilometers from the facility. Via Twitter, Trump had previously described the wind farm as “ill-conceived,” “asinine” and “bird killing.” 

In 2015, the U.K.’s Supreme Court dismissed a legal challenge from Trump International Golf Club Scotland Limited over the decision to grant consent for construction and operation of the EOWDC project. 

At the time, the Trump Organization said the decision was “extremely unfortunate” and that the EOWDC would  “completely destroy the bucolic Aberdeen Bay and cast a terrible shadow upon the future of tourism for the area.”

Situated in Aberdeen Bay, the 93.2 megawatt EOWDC is the largest offshore wind test and demonstration facility in Scotland, according to Vattenfall. Power from the site was sent to the grid using 66 kilovolt subsea cabling, Vattenfall said. The EOWDC has been developed by Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm Limited, which is owned by Vattenfall.

“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,” Adam Ezzamel, Vattenfall’s EOWDC project director, said in a statement. “Our priority now is to fully commission the windfarm safely throughout the summer.”

The scale of the project is considerable. When fully up and running, it will displace 134,128 tons of carbon dioxide per year and generate enough electricity to meet the equivalent yearly demand of 79,209 homes. 

Paul Wheelhouse, the Scottish government’s energy minister, described the news as a “very significant milestone” for the EOWDC project. “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, will generate enough energy to power a home for 24 hours,” Wheelhouse added. 

The developments at the EOWDC were also welcomed by environmental groups. “It’s great news that the first of 11 turbines at Aberdeen Bay has exported power to the grid, another milestone in Scotland’s renewables story,” Gina Hanrahan, WWF Scotland’s acting head of policy, said in a statement Monday.

“Offshore wind, which has halved in cost in recent years, is critical in the fight against climate change, helping to reduce emissions, keep the lights on and create thousands of jobs across the Scotland and the U.K.,” she added. 

Europe's total offshore wind capacity increased by 25 percent in 2017, according to industry body WindEurope.

Just over 3.1 gigawatts (GW) of new offshore wind was installed in Europe last year, with total capacity hitting almost 15.8 GW, according to the trade body.

Europe is now home to more than 4,000 offshore wind turbines across 11 countries. Thirteen new offshore wind farms were completed in 2017, with the U.K. and Germany accounting for the majority of these. The U.K. installed 1.7 GW of offshore wind, while Germany was responsible for 1.3 GW.