A wind farm off the Aberdeen coast has reported a profit of more than £10 million after its first year of being fully operational.
Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm, known as the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), officially opened in September 2018 and is due to operate for about 25 years.
In the project’s financial accounts, submitted by directors of Swedish developer Vattenfall, the wind farm and research centre reported £10.2m profits and £51.6m in turnover for 2019.
The wind farm cost around £340m and its 11 turbines are among the most powerful in the world.
It was conceived and built through a 20-year collaboration between Vattenfall, Amec and the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group (Areg).
In 2018 the project posted £1.1m in profit and £23.4m in turnover while only partially operational.
Alexandra Richards, the site manager, said: “Since generation began in 2018, Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm has been performing well.
“The amount of electricity generated has been as predicted, meaning financial returns are in line with expectations.
“During the operational phase we have used local companies wherever possible, including our balance of plant contractor and crew transfer vessels for our locally based operations and maintenance team who rent quayside space and offices in Aberdeen Harbour.
“The performance of the wind farm has enabled us to continue with the scientific research programme at the site, thought to be the largest of its kind in the world.
“The research aims to increase the understanding of the environmental impact of offshore wind, keeping Scotland at the forefront of offshore wind research and development.”
Part-funded with an EU grant of 40 million euros, the EOWDC project tests and demonstrates the latest offshore wind technology.
It has two 8.8 megawatt (MW) turbines and nine 8.4MW versions of the MHI Vestas V164 model.
Areg chairwoman, Jean Morrison said: “The EOWDC was nearly 20 years in the making so to see the wind farm delivering these results, with the use of several industry firsts, makes us proud.
“It is a vital testing site for the sector and this will no doubt help advance the next generation of offshore wind projects in the drive towards net zero.
“It’s also worth recognising Vattenfall’s dogged determination to bring the plans to fruition and its commitment to annually investing £150,000 for the lifetime of the EOWDC. This will leave a legacy and lasting impact to local communities across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”
Plans for the Aberdeen Bay wind project hit a number of bumps in the road, not least when the plans were opposed by now-US President Donald Trump in 2014.
Mr Trump claimed wind farm developments were “killing” Scotland and halted further developments at his Trump International golf course at Menie saying they would not resume unless the plans were abandoned.
In December 2018, operator Vattenfall received consent to “prolong” the life of the development.
And a request for a design life extension from 22 years to 25 years of the project was accepted by Marine Scotland.
Vattenfall said the extension would benefit the north-east and Scottish economy and would prolong local jobs.