In January 2022, ScottishPower was the biggest winner in Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind Leasing, awarded the rights to develop three new offshore windfarms – two in partnership with Shell – generating up to 7GW of clean green electricity in Scottish waters.
A total of 20 projects with a combined potential capacity of more than 27GW – and around 17GW of that from floating offshore wind, making it the world’s largest floating offshore leasing round – ScotWind could create enough clean energy to meet Scotland’s current electricity demands more than five times over, which is staggering.
Keith Anderson, Chief Executive of ScottishPower said: “ScotWind continues to be one of the biggest milestones in Scotland’s industrial history. Its size and scale is an absolute gamechanger for the renewables industry – not just here in Scotland, but right across the globe – and it will deliver a massive green step towards Net Zero.
“This was correctly the focus when the successful projects were announced a year ago.
“The go-ahead on commercial-scale floating offshore wind projects like the ones we’re developing with Shell in the North Sea – the likes of which have never been seen before anywhere in the world – will kickstart a new global green industry.
“And just as we saw with offshore oil and gas in the 1970s, that industry will develop, grow and support the green industrialisation of the north of Scotland – keeping the region at the heart of our energy future and unlocking economic opportunities right across the supply chain.
“Now one year on, and as we are progressing the early development and environmental assessments of our projects, the importance of ScotWind has been refocused through the lens of the energy crisis and the war in Ukraine.
“The war, and its impact on global energy markets, has raised the need for energy sovereignty and green energy independence – more homegrown green electricity made in the UK for the UK.
“The last year has been a sharp lesson in the need to accelerate our economy’s transition from gas and the commercial deployment of floating wind – through ScotWind – will be essential in unlocking the decarbonisation of energy intensive sectors.
“Early development and understanding of the true potential of floating wind will allow the UK to make the most of the wind resource around our islands by constructing further offshore and in deeper waters. And, as the floating wind industry develops and matures, deployment will speed up and costs will come down and with that comes massive opportunities.
“For example, only through the expansion of offshore wind will we be able to support the large-scale production of green hydrogen and its derivatives, which will be crucial for decarbonising transport and industry.
“Green hydrogen will help us reach the difficult to decarbonise spaces, like glass and steel production, while facilitating the production of new green products including ammonia for green fertiliser and e-methanol, which could very much be the green shipping fuel of the future.
“Using excess energy production from offshore wind to create these green alternatives would give the UK a huge advantage in the rapidly developing global hydrogen market.
“The size, scale and ambition of ScotWind is unparalleled, so what it could achieve is also beyond comparison.
“Not just for net zero, but for the creation of an affordable and secure energy system that delivers for people, for business, for industry and supports government ambitions for a clean energy future.
“ScotWind will be a key enabler in making all of this happen and will be a global game changer for the environment, for the economy and will help ensure the UK’s energy independence. And the work to deliver that legacy is well underway.”
Marking one year on from the ScotWind awards and reflecting on the opportunities it will bring to the North East, Russell Borthwick, Chief Executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Three quarters of the fields awarded in the ScotWind Leasing round are within 100 miles of Aberdeen. It’s estimated that £29 billion of investment will be needed to deliver the twenty projects and this offers a huge opportunity for the highly skilled energy supply chain based in the region. We already have the expertise here from the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre and the world’s first floating wind farm was developed off the coast of Peterhead – but this was just the start. In addition, a number of operators have chosen Aberdeen as a major hub for their offshore wind operations. So, the North East of Scotland is well placed to become Europe’s offshore wind capital.”
Maggie McGinlay, Chief Executive of ETZ Ltd, added: “The announcement of the successful bidders from the first ScotWind leasing round represented a significant milestone in Scotland’s energy transition journey and marked a crucial step in our efforts to reposition the North East of Scotland from the oil and gas capital of Europe to a globally-recognised energy cluster focused on the delivery of net zero.
"The North East is home to the largest concentration of energy supply chain companies in the UK and 75% of the world’s subsea capability provides us with the critical mass to accelerate the ScotWind developments, the majority of which are within 100 nautical miles of Aberdeen.
“ETZ Ltd is firmly focussed on facilitating the faster development of the Scottish energy supply chain and making this region one of the most attractive locations in Europe for investment in low carbon technologies, particularly offshore wind.”