Hywind Scotland, world's first floating offshore wind farm. Source Equinor

Scotland Awards 25 GW in ScotWind Auction, More than Half for Floating Wind Farms

Crown Estate Scotland has selected 17 offshore wind projects in its ScotWind seabed leasing round, which aimed to procure at least 10 GW of offshore wind but resulted in the chosen proposals having a total capacity of 24,826 MW.

Illustration; Hywind Scotland, world's first floating offshore wind farm. Source: Equinor

Ten projects are using floating wind technology, six are fixed-bottom, and one involves installing both floating and fixed foundations, meaning more than half of the total capacity has been awarded to floating wind farms.

The biggest single project is a 3 GW floating wind proposal by Iberdrola’s Scottish Power Renewables, followed by BP’s fixed-bottom 2.9 GW project. The successful bidders also include Shell, Ocean Winds, Vattenfall, SSE Renewables, Falck Renewables, DEME, BayWa, Northland Power, Magnora Offshore Wind, and Offshore Wind Power (a joint venture between Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG), TotalEnergies, and RIDG).

The option fees that the developers will pay to Crown Estate Scotland to secure the seabed lease rights amount to almost GBP 700 million (around EUR 838 million) and will be returned to the Scottish Government for public spending to drive the green recovery and other Scottish Government priorities.

Should any application not progress to signing a full option agreement, the next highest scoring application will instead be offered an option, Crown Estate Scotland said, adding that once these agreements are officially signed, the details of the supply chain commitments made by the applicants will be published.  

Initial indications suggest a multi-billion pound supply chain investment in Scotland, the Scottish seabed manager said in a press release.

“In addition to the environmental benefits, this also represents a major investment in the Scottish economy, with around £700m being delivered straight into the public finances and billions of pounds worth of supply chain commitments. 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”, said Simon Hodge, Chief Executive of Crown Estate Scotland.

After closing the application period in July 2021, Crown Estate Scotland unveiled that it had received 74 applications from offshore wind developers looking to secure rights to build projects across the 15 areas of seabed available for development through the Scottish Government’s Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy.

Locations of the 17 chosen ScotWind projects; Source: Crown Estate Scotland

The Scottish seabed manager said it would make initial offers for the first option agreements to successful applicants in January 2022, with developers able to move forward with their detailed plans and starting work on progressing their projects once the agreements are finalised.

Crown Estate Scotland grants full seabed leases only once developers have all the necessary consents and planning permissions from the Scottish Government and other bodies.