ENERGY giants SSE Renewables have dramatically pulled out of the Hunterston test facility site - with no future plans after the Mitsubishi turbine operation ends this summer.
The announcement will bring an end to the giant wind turbines which have featured prominently on the local skyline for the last six years.
SSE have confirmed to the News that the National Offshore Wind Turbine Test Facility at Hunterston will decommissioned.
The company say that the site has been instrumental in securing Scotland’s place as an 'international leader in offshore wind energy research'.
The surprise move comes just months after SSE was granted a two-year time extension for the test facility in January.
Testing of the Mitsubishi turbine is scheduled to end in the summer 2018, following by decommissioning, due to finish by winter.
Plans for the decommissioning of the Siemens’ turbine will be announced over the coming months.
The company argue that being able to test turbines at Hunterston has brought major benefits to UK offshore wind research.
Steven Smilie, SSE’s renewable operations manager, said: “Hunterston has helped keep Scotland on the map when it comes to offshore wind development and has provided a great service to the offshore wind industry.
"With offshore wind now being a much more widely developed and deployed technology, it is time for the site to be decommissioned.
“In the past six years the site has not only brought benefits to the offshore wind industry and economic benefit to the region, the communities close to the wind farm have also benefited from the Hunterston Community Fund which has provided over £250,000 over the lifetime of the project.”
Conservative councillor Tom Marshall, head of North Ayrshire planning, today welcomed the sudden move to turn the turbines off.
He said: "I was reasonably surprised but quite happy.
"The recent planning extension was only until October 2019 by which time the planning committee had made it perfectly clear that they wouldn't get a further extension and it would have to be removed.
"They have decided to remove it sooner."