A ‘huge’ multi-billion pound investment opportunity has opened up with the launch of Scotland’s first offshore wind leasing round in a decade, the country’s seabed regulator has claimed.
Crown Estate Scotland, who manages Scottish seabed leasing for renewable energy, has today announced the first stage of the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round.
It claims total investment in Scottish projects could surpass £8 billion.
From today, investors and developers will be able to register interest in obtaining an ‘option agreement’ with Crown Estate Scotland.
Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, described the move as a “pivotal moment” in the development of the country’s offshore wind sector and an opportunity to help develop a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “As we emerge from the crisis, we have a chance to re-imagine the Scotland around us, and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy, one in which wellbeing, fair work and social justice are prioritised.
“Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, supporting the continuing growth and expansion of the sector.
“We want to harness this huge resource for our energy system, unlocking significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector and, importantly, to do so in a way that gives due regard to our marine environment and other marine activities.
“My colleagues and I encourage all interested applicants to get involved in ScotWind, to bring forward projects which will help us drive forward Scotland’s green recovery and our transition to becoming a net-zero society by 2045.”
Published late last year, Marine Scotland’s draft sectoral marine plan showed dozens of leasing opportunities for offshore wind developers, with most around Grampian and the Highlands and Islands.
As part of any lease application, developers will have to submit a supply chain development statement, outlining how they plan to engage with and utilise supply chain to successfully develop their projects.
John Robertson, Crown Estate Scotland’s head of energy and infrastructure said: “Today is a huge step forward in kick-starting Scotland’s green recovery, meeting net zero targets and bringing multi-billion pound investments to benefit communities across the nation.
“Offshore wind is currently one of the cheapest forms of new electricity generation and Scotland is perfectly poised to host major new projects, with a well-established energy skills sector as well as some of the best natural marine resources in Europe.”
Claire Mack, chief executive of trade body Scottish Renewables, added: “Government and industry must now work together to maximise offshore wind deployment, and the supply chain opportunities which come with it, by removing barriers, investing strategically and making the right decisions, at the right time, to ensure this exciting sector has the confidence it needs to thrive at a global scale in the coming decades.”