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Offshore wind auction in Scotland heralds jobs and major infrastructure developments

Words: Roger Milne
Wind energy / iStock-817226328

An auction of seabed plots for major offshore wind projects around the Scottish coast has netted millions of pounds for the government and opens up the prospect of thousands of new jobs and significant infrastructure development across the country.

Seventeen projects covering a total of 7,000 square kilometres of seabed have been chosen in the first such leasing round in a decade, with combined potential generating capacity of 25 gigawatts.

The auction process, known as ScotWind, was overseen by Crown Estate Scotland, with the £700 million offered in bids going to the Scottish Government.

The winners have now been offered option agreements that reserve the rights to specific areas of seabed for fixed and floating offshore wind projects.

They include parts of the North Sea to the east of Angus, the outer Moray Firth, west of Orkney and north-west of both Lewis and Islay. Although there was a sea area east of Shetland offered for the auction, this was not allocated to any bidder.

Building and operating the projects will require significant supply chains, new port facilities, onshore infrastructure developments like electricity substations as well as triggering energy storage schemes and associated green hydrogen projects.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “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.

“While it is not yet possible to say with certainty what the scale of development will ultimately be, there is no doubt that the scale of this opportunity is transformational – both for our environment and the economy.”

Image credit | iStock