The foundations of the energy centre at the new £333 million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) have started to be laid.

The groundworks, drainage and concrete foundations for the energy centre are underway, with steelworks due to be erected later this month.

Once complete, the energy centre will host the largest fuel cell installation in the UK, providing electrical outputs reaching 1.4MW, will provide power, heat, and cooling for the new AECC.

Aberdeen City Council co-leader, Councillor Jenny Laing, said: “The scale of the new £333m AECC and its energy centre further underlines Aberdeen’s position as global energy capital.

“The new AECC which will open in 2019 is designed to be a world-class exhibition, conference and meeting room venue and also we want it to be a leader in using sustainable technologies.

“I’m delighted we have another milestone to celebrate.”

The new AECC, which is being built by Aberdeen City Council along with partner Henry Boot Developments and Robertson Group as the main contractor, is a key element of the council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan to grow and bolster the local economy, and is part of a £560m investment in infrastructure by the city council.

Robertson Group’s chief operating officer, Derek Shewan, said: “People are here in Aberdeen in their thousands to attend this year’s Offshore Europe and it’s great to know that when the bi-annual event next opens in 2019, they’ll be heading here.

“Some of our major plant machinery will arrive on site on 25 September, with specialist hybrid plant equipment expected in late October.

“We are currently on track to meet our completion date to have the offsite substation and cabling finished, which will see permanent power supply reach the entire site.”

Nick Harris, Scottish director at Henry Boot Developments, added: “We want the new AECC to be among the most sustainable venues in the UK. The energy centre has been designed to provide the new exhibition and conference centre and hotels with heat, power and cooling, and will use new technology to deliver greater efficiency and environmental benefits.

“It is just one example of how the new AECC will showcase innovation, and I am pleased to see work beginning on this fantastic new facility.”

The new AECC features three conference/exhibition halls including the main arena, four multi-purpose conference rooms, and 15 meeting rooms. The venue is expected to contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113m of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy.

The arena capacity is 12,500 people (9,000 square metres) with exhibition space of 6,000 square metres and an additional 33,000 square metres in the multi-purpose subterranean space.

Last month, the major steel beams spanning the width of the main arena were installed at the site using two specialised cranes. The 14 beams – or trusses – were lifted into place using two crawler cranes working together to lift them into place. Each of the beams weighs 84 tonnes, which is the same as about 56 medium-sized cars. The 88-metre-long steel trusses span the width of the arena, and given their size, were brought to site in sections and bolted together on the ground.

Source: Scottish Construction Now!

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