Scotland kicks off up to 10GW offshore leasing round

Seabed landlord Crown Estate Scotland has launched the country’s first offshore wind leasing round in more than a decade, with available sites capable of supporting up to 10GW of new capacity.

Scotland has nearly 900MW of operational offshore wind capacity, including world's first floating wind farm, Hywind (pic credit: Equinor)

Investors and developers can now register their interest in obtaining an "option agreement" for a site with the landlord, Crown Estate Scotland explained. 

They would then be eligible to lease areas selected in the Scottish government’s sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy, the landlord added

The marine plan includes 16 potential sites for development — capable of supporting up to 10GW — most of which are off Scotland's east and north coasts, with two off the west coast.

Developers will have to submit a supply chain development statement, outlining how they plan to engage with and use the supply chain to build their projects. This must include information on the geographical location of supply chain companies, and an explanation of how their plan can be fulfilled.

Crown Estate Scotland aims to award a maximum of 8,600km2 of seabed rights. It also limits individual applications to 860km2 — indicating each individual application could support around 1GW of offshore wind capacity if all available sites are used. 

Last month, Australian investment firm Macquarie's clean energy unit, the Green Investment Group, announced it would join forces with UK developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group to bid into the Scottish leasing round.

Scotland has nearly 900MW of operating offshore wind capacity, and more than 2.2GW in various stages of development, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly. The country aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2045.