Scotland Selects 17 Projects in Landmark $1B Offshore Wind Auction
Crown Estate Scotland announced the outcome of its hotly contested process for ScotWind Leasing, the first Scottish offshore wind leasing auction in over a decade. Launched in mid-2021, the auction created strong competition among major oil and renewable energy companies each seeking a piece of the lucrative opportunities.
Announcing the results, the Crown Estate reported that they had received a total of 74 applications for the leases that in total cover between 2,700 and 3,300 square miles of seabed. The proposals were a combination of floating and fixed or mixed projects coming from the best-known companies in the business. The Crown Estate selected 17 projects offering option agreements that are expected to yield $955 million in option fees paid to the Scottish government.
When the leasing process was announced, the expectation was that the originally designated nearly 5,000 square miles, had the potential to support wind projects with a capacity of 2.9 GW as part of the government’s total goal of 11 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. Combined the 17 selected projects are expected to have a total capacity of just over 24.8 GW.
“Today’s results are a fantastic vote of confidence in Scotland’s ability to transform our energy sector,” said Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland. “The variety and scale of the projects that will progress onto the next stages shows both the remarkable progress of the offshore wind sector and a clear sign that Scotland is set to be a major hub for the further development of this technology in the years to come.”
The list of selected projects reads like a who’s who of the industry. Shell and ScottishPower, part of the Spanish renewables firm Iberdrola, won two sites for floating wind farms that would produce a total of 5 GW. Other projects include BP, Orsted, TotalEnergies, Vattenfall, DEME, SSE Renewables, and others. The organizers of the process also noted that should any application not progress to signing a full agreement, the next highest scoring application will instead be offered an option.
“Initial indications suggest a multi-billion pound supply chain investment in Scotland,” the Crown Estate also noted commenting on the results of the auction. Once the agreements are officially signed, they will publish the details of the supply chain commitments made by the applicants as part of their proposals.
This is just the first stage of the long process and the projects will only progress to a full seabed lease once all the various planning stages have been completed. The Crown Estate noted that the projects will evolve through consenting, financing, and planning stages, meaning it would be years before “we see turbines going into the water.” In the companies' individual announcements regarding their selection, many of them noted that their goal was to have the projects producing energy before the end of this decade.