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Global focus on ScotWind leasing – but Scottish business must be at its heart

By Scottish Renewables

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A clearer picture of the future offshore wind seascape will become apparent.
A clearer picture of the future offshore wind seascape will become apparent.

By Ben Miller, senior policy manager, Scottish Renewables

Ben Miller, Scottish Renewables.
Ben Miller, Scottish Renewables.

The next chapter in Scotland’s offshore wind sector is set to be truly exciting.

This month has seen the launch of the much-anticipated offshore leasing round, ScotWind, by Crown Estate Scotland. ScotWind will enable companies at the cutting edge of offshore renewables to apply to build Scotland’s next generation of offshore wind farms.

This is a huge moment for the industry, as the eventual results of this round will see all the recent years of working with government on maps and plans transform into a much clearer picture of the future development of the offshore wind sector over the next decade.

With renewables already powering the equivalent of 90 per cent of Scotland’s electricity consumption, our massive offshore wind potential will serve as the driving force as we work to urgently decarbonise heat and transport to reach net-zero.

Our deeper waters give us a golden opportunity to lead the world in floating wind, and our existing North Sea expertise can and must become an exemplar for the energy transition.

The UK is undoubtedly the world’s leading offshore wind market, and ScotWind has already attracted huge interest from all the major global wind developers, putting Scotland on the map as a highly-attractive place to invest billions of pounds in clean infrastructure.

The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, our first major completed project, demonstrates the scale of the potential benefits of the offshore sector to Scotland. It generates enough clean electricity to power 450,000 homes, has added 7200 ‘job years’ and £460 million in GVA to the Scottish economy in development and construction alone, and the total overall impact of the project is expected to be £1 billion.

The challenge now is to ensure that Scotland’s supply chain secures even more of the benefits from the next decade of development. This is something that the whole industry is engaging with, with many hundreds of Scottish companies attending recent ‘meet the buyer’ events with various offshore projects which are soon to enter construction.

With leases awarded next year through ScotWind, and a bigger pipeline of projects taking shape, supply chain companies should have further confidence to plan and invest for the long-term – supported by ambitious climate change and renewable energy targets, the sector deal and the many forms of assistance from the Scottish and UK governments.

The recent health crisis has seen demand for energy reduce significantly across the globe, with this month seeing Britain break a new record of coal-free energy generation for two months.

This pandemic has given countries across the world the opportunity and time to reset and build a better way forward.

From South Korea to the USA, opportunities are opening up in major markets across the globe. ScotWind offers the many players in our industry the chance to gain valuable project experience in our waters and put this country at the heart of the offshore energy revolution.

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