The First Minister of Scotland said US President Donald Trump might “change his mind” if he paid a visit to the newly opened wind farm off the coast of Aberdeen he famously opposed.
Nicola Sturgeon made the remarks as she officially opened Vattenfall’s European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the coast of Aberdeen.
The wind farm, situated around 1.5 miles from the shore, is expected to produce enough electricity to meet the demand of almost 80,000 homes a year.
The project faced delays including a court challenge by Donald Trump, who claimed the turbines would ruin the view from his golf course at Balmedie.
Speaking on board a NorthLink ferry during a visit offshore yesterday to officially open the facility, the First Minister said: “Maybe on his next trip to Scotland he can see the turbines for himself and can change his mind.”
The First Minister also alluded to the US President during her speech in front of more than 100 business leaders and dignitaries on board. She said: “It’s had its hurdles along the way, it’s had its opponents along the way, but I hope what we’re seeing, and I’m going to use this word deliberately, the beauty of what we’re seeing will in time be capable of persuading even the sternest critic of this fantastic new centre.”
Ms Sturgeon added that the development would help to secure Scotland’s reputation as a “world leader” in renewable energy and in particular within the offshore wind sector.
She added: “We should always bear in mind what this renewable energy is all about.
“It’s about helping us to secure the future of the planet.
“Scotland is proud of having set, and being in the position of delivering, some of the most ambitious climate change targets anywhere in the world. We have a very ambitious target by 2030 to have 50% of all of our energy coming from renewable sources.”
The 11 turbines which make up the project are said to be the most powerful in the world, generating enough energy with a single rotation to power an average home for 24 hours.
Two of the turbines have a capacity of 8.8 megawatts and are the most powerful to have been deployed anywhere in the world.
Gunnar Groebler, senior vice president at Vattenfall, said right now there are “no plans” to add further turbines at the site.
He added: “Vattenfall will continue to innovate, strike partnerships and invest in wind power because climate change is one of the biggest threats to humanity and turbines like those at EOWDC will be a cornerstone of an effective response.”
Jean Morrison, chair of AREG (Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group), which was behind the original concept for the wind farm, said the idea first emerged in 2003.
She said: “It’s taken 15 years to get to where we are and it’s absolutely amazing.”
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said Scotland has “great aspirations” to develop offshore wind energy.
He added that the project helps demonstrate the “commercial attractiveness” of investing in Scotland.
Despite saying he wanted to “stay away from talking about Donald Trump”, Mr Wheelhouse added: “I hope Mr Trump when he looks at the economics will see the merits in the technology and see why we are so committed to investing in it as a country.”