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Energy / Offshore wind farm lease results to be announced next week

An image taken from the draft plan showing the suggested site off the east of Shetland.

THE RESULTS of a significant auction of seabed leases for offshore wind farms in Scottish waters – including to the east of Shetland – are set to be released on Monday (17 January).

A number of energy companies submitted bids for 15 areas which were designated by the Scottish Government as potential offshore wind sites.

It is part of the ScotWind leasing process, which has been organised by Crown Estate Scotland.

A total of 74 applications were received for the 15 sites.

Documents previously released showed that the area east of Shetland, which covers 751 square kilometres, could offer a realistic maximum output of 2GW.

In comparison the total capacity of the 103-turbine Viking Energy wind farm currently being constructed in Shetland is less than a quarter of 2GW.

The expectation is that as much as 10GW of new offshore wind capacity will be built over the next decade as a result of ScotWind.

Crown Estate Scotland said it would grant 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.

With developers set to pay fees to Crown Estate Scotland for rights, it could be a big earner for the Scottish Government.

The profits are set to be returned for public spending to drive the green recovery and other Scottish Government priorities.

The site earmarked to the east of Shetland – dubbed NE1 – is separate to proposals from developers Cerulean Winds and Aker Solutions for large offshore wind farms around the isles, which both intend to support hydrogen production.

Concerns, however, have been raised about the potential impact any offshore wind sites could have on fishing around Shetland.