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Energy / Offshore wind projects east of Shetland ready to move to development stage

An example of floating wind turbines.

ALL THREE successful applicants for offshore wind sites to the east of Shetland now have seabed option agreements in place – meaning that their projects can move into the development stage.

The three sites were involved in a clearing process as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind offshore wind leasing round.

In total the three floating wind projects could generate around 2.8GW of electricity, covering just over 560km2.

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”.

A total of £56 million in option fees will be paid by the three successful applicants.

However, the local fishing industry has expressed concern about the planned offshore wind developments around Shetland.

Research needed before offshore wind farms east of Shetland are built, fishing industry warns

In an update released on Wednesday, Crown Estate Scotland said full seabed leases are granted at a later stage once applicants have the necessary consents from regulators, such as Marine Scotland, and have secured grid connections and financing.

Mainstream Renewable Power and Ocean Winds have signed a seabed lease agreement with Crown Estate Scotland to the value of £36 million for the development of a 1.8 GW floating offshore wind farm off Shetland.

They have named the project the Arven Offshore Wind Farm after the Norwegian word for heritage or legacy.

The two companies said they are “committed to developing floating offshore wind on an industrial scale, generating local jobs and opportunities in Scotland and the Shetland Islands”.

They say the site in question has the potential to power the equivalent of over two million homes and save three million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

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A total of 20 ScotWind projects now have option agreements confirmed. Together these total up to 27.6GW of energy.

The total figure for ScotWind option fees for these 20 projects is £755 million.

Once operating, projects will pay Crown Estate Scotland multi-million pound annual payments, which will be passed to Scottish Government for public spending.

Crown Estate Scotland also mandated that applicants must outline supply chain commitments as part of their application for an option agreement.

Latest figures, taking into account all 20 projects, now show initial Scottish commitments total £28.8 billion.

Colin Maciver, head of offshore wind development for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Today’s confirmation of three more ScotWind agreements is extremely positive news.

“These projects will further boost delivery of clean offshore energy that is central to Scotland’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency, secure the UK’s energy supply, and generate billions of pounds of investment in Scotland. We look forward to working with all applicants in the years to come.”

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