Crown Estate Scotland signals green light for multi-billion pound wind investment

Scotland’s seabed is being opened up for new wind farm projects for the first time in a decade with the launch of a new round of leasing by Crown Estate Scotland.

ScotWind Leasing will enable companies at the cutting edge of offshore renewable to apply to build Scotland’s new generation of offshore wind farms.

Crown Estate Scotland said today that the multi-billion pound investment opportunity will form a major part of Scotland’s green recovery and help power the transition to a net zero future.

The body, which manages Scotland’s seabed, believes total investment in ScotWind Leasing projects could potentially surpass £8 billion and deliver more than enough green electricity to power every Scottish household. More than six million tonnes of CO2 could be saved per year and measures will be included to promote and enhance the supply chain to help ensure projects can be developed.

John Robertson, Crown Estate Scotland’s head of energy & 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.”

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP said: “The launch of ScotWind – the first offshore wind leasing round to be administered in Scotland – is a very important milestone for Crown Estate Scotland and Scottish Ministers, but also marks another pivotal moment for the development of our offshore wind sector and also presents an opportunity to help develop our strategic economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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.”

Claire Mack, chief executive at Scottish Renewables, added: “With a quarter of all Europe’s offshore wind resource, new generations of turbines which enable us to capture it more efficiently than ever and an offshore workforce which is constantly upskilling, the stage is set for the further development of offshore wind in Scotland.

“Today’s announcement by Crown Estate Scotland sets out the next part of that journey, providing a blueprint for the further expansion of an industry which is creating economic and environmental benefits across Scotland and helping meet our emissions targets as we progress towards net zero.

“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.”

From today, investors and developers will be able to register interest in obtaining an ‘option agreement’ with Crown Estate Scotland. These can then lead to the signing of leases to build offshore wind farms in one of the areas of seabed to be outlined as suitable in the Scottish Government’s Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy.

Information for potential applicants is accessed through an online portal.

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.

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