Scotland kick starts an offshore wind revolution

Photo credit: Equinor.

By Anders Lorenzen

The Scottish government has signalled strong upcoming investment opportunities in the country’s growing offshore wind sector as ScotWind’s offshore wind auction resulted in 17 new seabed area leases  (capable of producing roughly 25 gigawatts (GW) of energy).

The Crown Estate Scotland said the chosen developers have committed to investing in the Scottish supply chain and creating new green jobs.

It is expected that the projects will secure at least £1bn in supply chain investment for every 1GW of capacity that is proposed, also generating £700 million in revenue for the Scottish government. 

The new projects include the world’s first commercial-scale floating offshore wind farm. Up until now, the floating offshore wind sector involved a couple of small pilot projects in Scotland and Norway.

A pathway to a net-zero economy

Just months after COP26 concluded in Scotland, these new projects will significantly contribute to Scotland’s pathway to a net-zero economy and help position the country as an exporter of renewable energy and green hydrogen.

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland welcomed the announcement as a “truly historic” opportunity for Scotland’s net-zero economy. She stated: “The scale of opportunity here is truly historic. ScotWind puts Scotland at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind, represents a massive step forward in our transition to net zero, and will help deliver the supply chain investments and high-quality jobs that will make the climate transition a fair one. It allows us to make huge progress in decarbonising our energy supply – vital if we are to reduce Scotland’s emissions.”

She also said it presented a golden opportunity for workers to transition from the oil and gas sector to the renewable energy sector: “That means, for example, that people working right now in the oil and gas sector in the North East of Scotland can be confident of opportunities for their future,” she added.

Historically the cornerstone of Scotland’s economy was the North Sea oil and gas industry, which is now dwindling in size. The country is therefore keen to make the case for an economically rich Scotland that is moving away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy and technologies.

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