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Tuesday 16 July 2024
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Energy / Two offshore wind sites to be developed jointly

TWO proposed floating offshore wind farms to the east of Shetland will now be developed jointly to “maximise their potential”.

The move will be bring together 1.8GW and 500MW developments – two of three sites to the east of Shetland which feature in Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind leasing process.

It will see Mainstream Renewable Power and Ocean Winds, which is a joint venture between EDPR and ENGIE dedicated to offshore wind energy, working together on the two sites.

One of the sites is a 1.8 GW development east of Shetland which was awarded to the 50:50 joint venture between Mainstream and Ocean Winds as part of the ScotWind leasing process in 2022.

Separately, Ocean Winds was awarded its own 500MW site in the same NE1 block.

Mainstream has now completed its acquisition of a 50 per cent shareholding in Ocean Winds’ holding company, and the two sites are now being developed jointly.

The sites of the three proposed offshore projects. Image: ScotWind

It effectively means that the 1.8GW Arven wind farm will expand to become 2.3GW.

The companies said by extending their existing collaboration and “developing the two sites off Shetland, the partners will leverage their combined expertise for the long-term benefit of the Shetland community, create supply chain opportunities and jobs, and contributing to the UK’s net zero ambition”.

There is ongoing engagement between the project team and local organisations, including supply chain partners, local authorities and fisheries representatives.

Earlier this week, senior representatives from Arven’s shareholders held meetings with Shetland Islands Council, Shetland Fishermen’s Association, Lerwick Port Authority and other key local stakeholders to discuss project plans.

The companies said engagement with the wider public will begin as early environmental and technical feasibility work is undertaken, “ensuring that the interests and concerns of the Shetland community are considered throughout the project’s development”.

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Arven Offshore Wind Farm project director Ewan Walker said: “With the Arven Offshore Wind Farm now encompassing both sites with the same joint venture partners, we will be able to maximise efficiencies as a project and bring expertise from Mainstream and Ocean Winds to the whole project.

“It also provides a simpler forum for engagement with local organisations and communities. We have already begun meaningful engagements with key stakeholders, including the fishing industry, and will continue to work collaboratively to deliver the project and drive the energy transition.”

Once operational, it is expected that Arven will have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power up to two million homes.

Meanwhile there remains a third ScotWind site in the offing for offshore wind east of Shetland.

ESB Asset Development secured rights for a 500MW development.

The designated ScotWind area east of the isles, known as NE1, is located around 12 miles off the Shetland.

Across Scotland a total of 20 offshore ScotWind projects 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.

The ScotWind process saw areas of seabed up for grabs for offshore wind developers.

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.

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