BY JAMES HAMILTON VATTENFALL has signed leases totalling 24 years with Aberdeen Harbour Board, becoming the first offshore wind operator to invest long-term in the port’s facilities.

The company is set to establish its construction team’s base within the Regent Centre by next month and also move into a warehouse unit at Commercial Quay. The facilities will support the construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance (O&M), and eventual decommissioning phases of Vattenfall’s more than £300 million European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) off the Aberdeen coast.

A team of up to 10 personnel, including skilled offshore wind technicians, will be based at the facilities during the lifetime of the project. The warehouse will undergo a substantial retrofit and the company anticipates moving into the new facilities within Q2 of 2017.

Adam Ezzamel, project director for the EOWDC at Vattenfall, said: “We are pleased to have found a suitable location so near to the wind farm with the support of Aberdeen Harbour Board.

“Aberdeen Harbour is a natural fit for our operations while the EOWDC is a flagship project for the region and its Energetica corridor. As a hub of innovation, the project will reinforce the North East’s global energy status by leading the industry drive towards generating clean and competitive wind energy power.”

Chief executive at Aberdeen Harbour Board, Colin Parker, said: “We very much welcome this long-term commitment to the port by Vattenfall. We believe that our location and modern facilities are ideal to support this work, and this agreement typifies our continued strategy for diversification of harbour activity, to the benefit of the region.

Turbine supplier, MHI Vestas Offshore wind, will provide a full service agreement for at least the first five years of operations, working together with Vattenfall from the O&M base at Aberdeen Harbour.

Flemming Ougaard, chief operating officer, operations at MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, said: “Vattenfall’s long-term commitment to Aberdeen Harbour provides both our construction and operation and maintenance teams with a stable base for the project. The port facilities are first-class and provide great access to the site.”

Aberdeen City Council’s Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group has been a long-term partner of the EOWDC.