The body, which manages Scotland’s seabed, said that the multi-billion-pound investment opportunity will form a major part of the country’s recovery. It is the first round of offshore wind leasing in Scottish waters for a decade.
The round, called ScotWind Leasing, enables companies in the offshore renewables sector to apply to build a new generation of wind farms and help power the transition to a net-zero economy.
Crown Estate Scotland said that total investment in ScotWind Leasing projects could potentially surpass £8bn and that the schemes could deliver more than enough green electricity to power every Scottish household. Over six million tonnes of CO2 could be saved per year. It is incorporating measures to promote and enhance the supply chain to help ensure projects can be developed.
The significant increase in the amount of power generated from offshore renewables is seen as a major step towards meeting the Scottish government’s target of Scotland being net zero by 2045.
John Robertson, Crown Estate Scotland’s head of energy & infrastructure, said, “Today is a huge step forward in kick-starting Scotland’s green recovery, meeting net-zero targets and bringing multi-billion-pound investments to benefit communities across the nation.
“Offshore wind is currently one of the cheapest forms of new electricity generation and Scotland is perfectly poised to host major new projects, with a well-established energy skills sector as well as some of the best natural marine resources in Europe.”
Scotland’s energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “The launch of ScotWind – the first offshore wind leasing round to be administered in Scotland – is a very important milestone for Crown Estate Scotland and Scottish ministers, but also marks another pivotal moment for the development of our offshore wind sector and also presents an opportunity to help develop our strategic economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As we emerge from the crisis, we have a chance to re-imagine the Scotland around us, and to begin building a greener, fairer and more equal society and economy, one in which wellbeing, fair work and social justice are prioritised.
“Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, supporting the continuing growth and expansion of the sector. We want to harness this huge resource for our energy system, unlocking significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector and, importantly, to do so in a way that gives due regard to our marine environment and other marine activities.
“My colleagues and I encourage all interested applicants to get involved in ScotWind, to bring forward projects which will help us drive forward Scotland’s green recovery and our transition to becoming a net-zero society by 2045.”
From today, investors and developers will be able to register interest in obtaining an ‘option agreement’ with Crown Estate Scotland. These can then lead to the signing of leases to build offshore wind farms in one of the areas of seabed to be outlined as suitable in the Scottish government’s Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy.