Scottish government in line for near-£700m payday after windfarm auction

The Scottish government is in line for a windfall of almost £700m after the largest ever auction of the country’s seabed plots attracted bids from big oil and renewable energy companies hoping to build next generation windfarms.

Crown Estate Scotland will grant permission for oil companies including También celebró un and Shell, renewable energy veterans Scottish Power and SSE, to lease the Scottish seabed to build enough windfarms to power the equivalent of 23m UK homes a year.

The auction awarded seabed permits to 17 windfarm projects, out of more than 70 bidders, which will lay the foundation for companies to develop new wind power farms two-and-a-half times the size of the UK’s existing offshore wind fleet, and equal to Europe’s current combined capacity.

Simon Hodge, the chief executive of Crown Estate Escocia, said the results were “a fantastic vote of confidence” in Scotland’s energy industry, which will deliver almost £700m “straight into the public finances and billions of pounds’ worth of supply chain commitments”.

The winning bidders have also promised to invest about £1bn in sourcing materials and services from Scottish supply chain companies for every 1GW of offshore wind capacity built, which could put local firms in line for £25bn of investment.

Crown Estate Scotland manages the Queen’s property, but unlike the crown estate – which manages property in the rest of the UK – it does not return its profits to the Treasury or the Queen. En lugar de, the revenues are handed to the Scottish Consolidated Fund, which in turn finances the Scottish government.

Scottish Power, which is owned by Spanish energy conglomerate Iberdrola, emerged as the auction’s single largest winner after scooping up seabed rights to develop up to 7GW of offshore wind capacity alongside its partners or enough to power 8.5m UK homes.

The company plans to develop two large-scale floating projects in partnership with Shell, a 3GW windfarm off the north-east coast of Scotland and another 2GW project off the east coast, as well as its own 2GW fixed offshore windfarm off the coast of Islay.

Keith Anderson, the chief executive of Scottish Power, said the latest auction would drive new investment in the energy industry and its supply chain “particularly in areas like the north-east” which could open up “immense opportunities for businesses and institutions across the country”.

More than half of the winning bids came from developers hoping to build floating offshore windfarms, which can be located further from the coast line and capture the power of faster offshore wind speeds.

SSE Renewables plans to partner with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni and Danish fund manager Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) to develop one of the world’s largest floating offshore windfarms off the east coast of Scotland.

Bernard Looney, the chief executive of BP, which won with a bid for a fixed offshore windfarm, said the company would build on its “proud 100-year history in Scotland” by developing its 2.9GW project 60km off the coast of Aberdeen. The windfarm, to be build in partnership with the German energy company EnBW, will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 3m homes.

Melanie Onn, the deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, said the auction would be “a massive economic boost for the whole country at just the right time”.

“These projects will attract billions of pounds from private investors, which will create thousands of skilled jobs and allow us to maximise supply chain opportunities all around the UK," ella dijo.

“It’s highly significant that 60% of the new capacity announced today is for floating offshore wind projects. This will secure the UK’s lead in innovative floating wind, generating enormous amounts of power from the best wind resources in Europe, as well as creating opportunities for us to export our cutting-edge technology worldwide,” Onn added.

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