Crown Estate Scotland (CES) has selected the Ørsted, Falck Renewables, and BlueFloat Energy consortium to enter into an Option Agreement for a new floating offshore wind site off the north-east coast of Scotland.
The award for this floating wind site of up to 1 GW in scale has been made through CES’s ScotWind offshore wind leasing round.
The project will be located off Caithness, around 50 kilometres east of Wick and is Ørsted’s first large-scale floating wind development project anywhere in the world, as well as the company’s first offshore wind project in Scotland.
”I commend Crown Estate Scotland for awarding lease rights at large scale and with focus on development phase commitments, which is exactly what is needed to allow for financially sustainable development and to make floating and deeper water wind cost-competitive,” Martin Neubert, Chief Commercial Officer and Deputy Group CEO at Ørsted, said.
”By securing this seabed lease area, we’re confirming our ambitions in floating offshore wind while expanding our offshore development pipeline and our long-term commitment to the UK.”
The successful bid is said to have combined Ørsted’s expertise in developing and building more offshore wind projects than any other company in the world with BlueFloat Energy’s focus on developing floating wind projects and Falck Renewables’ strong track record of community engagement in Scotland and global project development.
”We are pleased that our application has been selected by Crown Estate Scotland, an affirmation of our strategic decision to pursue floating wind opportunities and to drive the commercialization of this exciting and rapidly developing new technology,” Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Ørsted, said.
”Scotland has some of the best offshore wind potential in the world and the ScotWind leasing round is a unique opportunity for Scotland to become a global leader in floating offshore wind. We look forward to working with Scottish businesses as we develop our offshore wind project, investing in the local supply chain and creating new jobs and skills that will leave a lasting legacy for communities around the country.”
The consortium has already begun work with community ownership experts Energy4All on a new framework which will allow residents of Scotland and Scottish communities to share the financial benefits of the floating wind farms the consortium builds in the future.
As part of the preparatory work to deliver the floating wind farm, the consortium will collaborate with Energy Skills Partnership Scotland (ESP) to help train up a skilled workforce in time for construction to begin.
Research will also be carried out with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) to investigate the potential effects of floating wind developments on the marine environment. Projects under discussion will examine how fishing interests and offshore wind can work together and study the interaction of fish, marine mammals, and seabirds with floating offshore wind farms.
Ørsted is also competing for the rights to develop fixed-bottom and floating wind farms offshore Norway in a joint venture with Fred. Olsen Renewables and Hafslund Eco.