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Energy / Offshore wind developers picked for three sites east of Shetland

The three sites could generate up to 2.8GW in total

Image: Crown Estate Scotland

THREE projects will be offered seabed agreements for offshore wind developments to the east of Shetland following Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind clearing process.

A total of 14 applications were received and three have been taken forward.

In total the three floating wind projects would generate around 2.8GW of electricity, covering just over 560km2. The total area offered up to the east of Shetland was 751km2.

The three lead developers are Ocean Winds, Mainstream Renewable Power and ESB Asset Development. All three developments have a focus on green hydrogen, which can be produced from wind power, there is said to be “substantial supply chain investment in Scotland”.

The Scottish supply chain is expected to benefit from £1.2 billion of investment for each gigawatt of capacity produced from three projects.

The largest of the three projects is a development led by Mainstream Renewable Power, which could generate up to 1.8GW alone.

A total of £56 million will be paid by the successful applicants in option fees and passed to the Scottish Government for public spending.

The clearing process saw the ‘NE1’ area east of Shetland made available for ScotWind applicants who met the required standards, but who did not secure their chosen location earlier in the leasing process.

The ScotWind leasing process saw offshore wind developers compete for a number of sites off Scotland’s coast, with 20 now ready to be taken forward.

The announcement comes as an offshore wind supply chain summit is held in Aberdeen today (Monday).

Crown Estate Scotland marine director Colin Palmer said: “This is a fantastic result for Shetland and for Scotland.

“These projects have significant potential to really boost Scotland’s progress towards its net zero targets, including in relation to the opportunity around green hydrogen.

“Taking these three into account, the 20 ScotWind projects now total up to 27.6GW with initial supply chain commitments indicating an average of £1.4bn investment in Scotland per gigawatt of capacity built.

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“This result is further proof that Scotland is leading globally on offshore wind, deploying new technology and exploiting the potential of hydrogen.”

Mainstream Renewable Power said in a statement on Monday that it was working with Ocean Winds for the 1.8GW development.

The site in question is approximately 100m water depth and is “well suited for floating offshore wind”, the company said. The site output is expected to power for the equivalent of over two million homes and save three million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Mainstream CEO Mary Quaney, said: “This is a very significant win for Mainstream which plays to our key strengths as a global leader in floating offshore wind technology as well as our track record in offshore wind project development.”

Mainstream and Aker Offshore Wind recently completed a transaction to combine the two companies to create a renewable energy company with more than 27 GW net portfolio. Aker had previously proposed a huge 10GW floating wind farm north of Shetland.

Meanwhile Ocean Winds is an international company dedicated to offshore wind energy and created as a joint venture in 2020 by EDP Renewables and ENGIE. With an interest in two of the three sites, it is involved in up to 2.3GW of offshore wind development to the east of Shetland.

Ocean Winds CEO Bautista Rodriguez said “both projects awarded will bring major benefits to Shetland and Scotland, as well as important contribution to net zero”.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “ScotWind will deliver a new era in Scotland’s offshore wind industry, representing the world’s largest commercial round for floating offshore wind and breaks new ground in putting large-scale floating wind technology on the map at Gigawatt scale.

“It will provide several billion pounds more in rental revenues once projects become operational, to be invested for the benefit of the people of Scotland.”

Crown Estate Scotland said once agreements are officially signed later this year, information on supply chain commitments made by the applicants as part of their supply chain development statements will be published.

“This is just the first stage of the long process these projects will have to go through before we see turbines in the water, as the projects progress through consenting, financing, and planning stages,” it added.

“Responsibility for these stages does not sit with Crown Estate Scotland, and projects will only progress to a full seabed lease once all these various planning stages have been completed.”

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