A major milestone in floating offshore wind

By Dominic Ellis
Crown Estate Scotland has given the green light to 10 floating wind farms, and 17 new projects overall, worth around £700 million

It's two months since the last COP26 delegate left Glasgow but there are clear signs of its growing legacy as Scotland steps on the renewable energy pedal. 

Yesterday Crown Estate Scotland approved 17 projects under the Scotwind leasing round - 10 of which will be floating wind farms - in a major £700 million investment. To put the proposed 25GW of projects in context, they would be two-and-a-half times the UK’s entire current offshore wind capacity and equivalent to Europe's entire existing offshore wind capacity.

Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland, said: “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.” 

The full list of approved projects is below. 

 

Projects will only progress to a full seabed lease once all these various planning stages have been completed. Should any application not progress to signing a full agreement, the next highest scoring application will instead be offered an option. 

Once these agreements are officially signed, the details of the supply chain commitments made by the applicants as part of their Supply Chain Development Statements will be published.  

Highlights include: 

  • 17 projects have been selected out of a total of 74 applications, and have now been offered option agreements which reserve the rights to specific areas of seabed   
  • A total of just under £700m will be paid by the successful applicants in option fees and passed to the Scottish Government for public spending 
  • The area of seabed covered by the 17 projects is just over 7,000km2 (a maximum of 8,600km2 was made available through the Scottish Government’s Sectoral Marine Plan) 
  • Initial indications suggest a multi-billion pound supply chain investment in Scotland
  • The potential power generated will provide for the expanding electrification of the Scottish economy as we move to net zero.

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn said the announcement marks the start of a new era for the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry and will scale up its ability to slash emissions exponentially.

"In the long term, it will also help to reduce the UK’s vulnerability to international gas prices which are hurting consumers," she said. "Overall it’s a massive economic boost for the whole country at just the right time. These projects will attract billions of pounds from private investors, which will create thousands of skilled jobs and allow us to maximise supply chain opportunities all around the UK. It also underlines the need to speed up the planning process, so that we can connect these offshore wind farms faster across the UK to meet our targets for 2030 and beyond."

She said it was highly significant that 60% of the new capacity announced today is for floating offshore wind projects. "This will secure the UK’s lead in innovative floating wind, generating enormous amounts of power from the best wind resources in Europe, as well as creating opportunities for us to export our cutting-edge technology worldwide."

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