Scotland could soon see an additional 25GW of offshore wind power generation, after the ScotWind auction awarded leases to 17 projects.
The ScotWind offshore wind lease auction is the first time that plots of seabed in Scottish waters have been available to lease in a decade. It was seen as an important step in supercharging the rollout of offshore wind capability off the coast of Scotland, with Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, describing the auction as ‘a massive opportunity for [Scotland’s] renewable energy capacity and transition to net zero’.
Crown Estate Scotland ran the auction, with the organisation awarding leases to a total of 17 projects totalling almost 25GW, much higher than was initially anticipated. In fact, the auction was expected to deliver just 10GW of capacity, although no one expected half the auction winners to commit to the construction of floating wind farms.
Of course, all the auction winners are still able to pull out, at which point Crown Estate Scotland will simply award the land to the next highest bidder. However, it’s unlikely that any of the winners will pull out at this stage.
Speaking of winners, ScottishPower Renewables took home the largest leases. The firm committed to building three new offshore wind farms, including two new floating wind farms being developed in partnership with Shell.
ScottishPower Renewables will construct a 3GW floating wind farm dubbed MarramWind off the north-east coast of Scotland, while a 2GW floating farm nicknamed CampionWind will be built off the east coast. Additionally, a fixed foundation wind farm will be constructed off the coast of Islay, named MachairWind and capable of producing 2GW of electricity.
There were of course other winners, including:
- BP plans to develop a 2.9GW fixed foundation wind farm alongside EnBW around 60km off the coast of Aberdeen
- SSE Renewables has teamed up with Maurbeni and CIP to develop a new giant floating offshore wind farm capable of producing 2.6GW of electricity in the C1 Zone in the Firth of Forth off the Angus Coast. At 858sqkm, this is one of the largest leases awarded by Crown Estate Scotland.
- DEME will construct fixed and floating wind farms totalling 2GW
- Offshore Wind Power, a joint venture between Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, Total Energies and RIDG, will produce 2GW with its wind farm.
- Ocean Winds is committed to building a 1GW wind farm off the north-east coast in the NE4 site.
- Vattenfall and Fred Olsen Seawind are set to team up on a 798MW project off the east coast.
- Falk Renewables is committed to a 2.7GW project.
- BayWa r.e is set to construct a wind farm capable of producing 960MW of electricity.
- Northland Power won rights to develop a wind farm that will produce 2.3GW.
- Magnora will develop the smallest wind farm of the winners, at just 495MW.
It’s safe to say Scotland’s renewable energy industry will be busy with the new projects, which were selected from a total of 74 applications. Of course, while it will be a massive boon for the amount of renewable energy that is generated off the Scottish coast, it will also benefit Scotland’s coffers, with £700 million set to go directly to the Scottish Government as part of the proceeds from the auction.
Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland, commented, “Today’s results are a fantastic vote of confidence in Scotland’s ability to transform our energy sector. Just a couple of months after hosting COP26, we’ve now taken a major step towards powering our future economy with renewable electricity.
“In addition to the environmental benefits, this also represents a major investment in the Scottish economy, with around £700m being delivered straight into the public finances and billions of pounds worth of supply chain commitments. The variety and scale of the projects that will progress onto the next stages shows both the remarkable progress of the offshore wind sector, and a clear sign that Scotland is set to be a major hub for the further development of this technology in the years to come.”