Fossil-fuel majors, renewable energy developers and floating wind pioneers have been awarded options on leases for offshore wind farms in Scotland’s latest auction, which the auction regulator hopes will launch more than 24GW of new capacity.
Consortia led by BP, Shell New Energies, Vattenfall, Northland Power, ScottishPower Renewables and Ørsted were among the winners in the first Scottish offshore wind leasing round in over a decade and the first since the UK government handed over management of offshore wind rights to Scotland.
Groups led by SSE Renewables, Deme, Ocean Winds, BayWa, Macquarie's Green Investment Group, and Magnonra were also successful in securing leases.
Crown Estate Scotland today (17 January) awarded 17 leases in Scottish waters that developers will use for offshore wind farms, using both floating platforms and fixed-bottom foundations.
Combined, the sites cover just over 7,000km2 and could support a total capacity of 24.8GW of offshore wind capacity.
Developers will pay just under £700 million (€840 million) to the government in "option fees" to secure the rights to develop the sites.
They will still need to secure permitting approval and revenue streams before they can start construction.
Floating offshore wind projects are planned in the majority of the leases awarded.
In total, six projects slated to use fixed-bottom foundations with a combined capacity of up to 9,755MW were successful. Meanwhile, developers secured leases for ten projects that will use floating platforms with a combined capacity of 14,576MW. And one development group – a partnership led by Norwegian developer Magnora – plans to use both technologies for a project with a capacity of up to 495MW.
Notable winners included Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, which was involved in three successful bids for leases that could support up to 7GW of capacity, and Ørsted, which is now planning its first large-scale floating offshore wind farm. Meanwhile, GIG, TotalEnergies and RIDG secured a lease for a site that could support up to 2GW of offshore wind capacity that they say could feed electrolysers to produce green hydrogen.
Meanwhile, floating wind pioneer Equinor, floating specialist Simply Blue Energy, Italian oil major Eni, US renewables giant Invenergy and Aker Offshore Wind – which had planned to use an underwater substation at its project – were all unsuccessful.
Scottish Renewables’ CEO Claire Mack said the winning projects’ supply chain plans “creates an incredible platform for industrial transformation and revitalisation”.
“These lease offers add greatly to our existing pipeline of projects in construction and development,” she added. “Scotland now has an extensive and attractive offshore market, and the most seabed dedicated to commercial floating wind development anywhere in the world.”
Meanwhile, RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive director Melanie Onn noted that the 24.8GW of capacity that could be built in the leased sites is about two-and-a-half times the UK’s current operational offshore wind capacity.
“Today’s announcement marks the start of a new era for the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry,” she added. “ScotWind represents one of the country’s biggest ever steps towards net zero.”
This story is being updated.