Scotland’s first offshore wind leasing round in more than a decade has raised nearly $1 billion in accepted application bids, Crown Estate Scotland announced Monday.
A total of 17 projects were selected out of a total of 74 applications covering about 7,000 square kilometers of seabed made available for offshore wind development under the Scottish Government’s Sectoral Marine Plan. Combined, the projects have potential for about 24.8 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity.
Out of the 17, only six are listed as using “fixed” technology, while ten of the projects are for “floating” and one is “mixed.” The addition means Scotland now has the most seabed dedicated to commercial floating wind development than anywhere in the world.
Option fees to be paid by the applicants will raise just under £700 million (USD $954 million), which will be passed to the Scottish Government for public spending. Top bids came from units of BP, Shell and SSE Renewables. The overall highest bidder was Scottish Power Renewables, which had applications approved representing about 5 GW combined.
Launched in June 2020, ScotWind Leasing is the first leasing round in Scottish waters in more than a decade and the first ever since the management of offshore wind rights were devolved to Scotland.
“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,” said Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland.
“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.”
The Scottish Government has set its an ambition for 11GW of offshore wind to be deployed by 2030, on its path to net zero by 2045.
The ScotWind Leasing round marks just the first step in offshore wind development, as applicants still require regulatory approval, financing, and completing planning stages.