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Energy / Interest registered in offshore wind site east of Shetland

Image taken from the Scottish Government's sectorial marine plan for offshore wind energy.

AN AREA east of Shetland which has been pinpointed as a possible site for an offshore wind farm has attracted interest from developers.

Crown Estate Scotland confirmed that all 15 areas in the country’s waters which were designated by the Scottish Government as potential offshore wind sites received applications in a recent auction.

It was part of the ScotWind leasing process, which asked developers to bid for rights to build projects on parts of Scotland’s seabed.

A total of 74 applications were received for the 15 sites. Documents previously showed that the area east of Shetland, which covers 751 square kilometres, could offer a realistic maximum output of 2GW.

Crown Estate Scotland said there is now a target of making initial offers for the first option agreements to successful applicants in January 2022, with those agreements then finalised following that.

Developers will then move forward with their detailed plans and start work on various types of activities that can progress their projects.

Crown Estate Scotland grants full seabed leases only once developers have all the necessary consents and planning permissions from the Scottish Government and other bodies.

A host of large energy companies have thrown their hat into the ring when it comes to the Scottish leasing auction, including Total, BP and Shell/Scottish Power.

Crown Estate Scotland marine director Colin Palmer said: “The high number of applications from developers shows just how much potential Scotland’s seas hold for the future expansion of offshore wind.

“There is now a huge amount of work to do in assessing every application thoroughly and fairly so that the strongest projects go through to the next stage in helping to power Scotland’s energy sector towards a net zero future.”

Crown Estate Scotland has now begun assessing each application against the criteria laid out to applicants.

Option fees will then be paid by successful applicants to Crown Estate Scotland in exchange for securing the rights to areas of seabed.

The maximum amount payable will be £100,000 per km2 of seabed.

Revenue profit from the leasing will be returned to the Scottish Government for public spending to drive the green recovery and other Scottish Government priorities.