ScotWind was an auction held by the Crown Estate Scotland (CES) to sell seabed plots for offshore wind development projects. The registration and bidding took place last year, and the option agreements were announced in January. It’s the largest sale of seabed areas made by the Scottish Government (who oversee CES and gained the profits from the auction) and can be seen as a huge vote of confidence in wind industry from the Scottish Government.
Given the recent records with renewables in Scotland, this economic and energy policy isn’t particularly surprising. Electricity generation sourced from renewable energy sources has been on the rise in Scotland in recent years – increasing threefold between 2010 and 2020. That’s a significant rise over a relatively short time period.
While this is a promising increase in renewables, meeting the Scottish Government’s green ambitions – net zero emissions by 2045 – will require more renewable energy to be generated. That’s where projects such as ScotWind come in, luring energy companies to invest in swathes of Scottish seabed, providing that energy while maintaining a strong industry that matches profits with future stability. Of course, having the space available in Scottish waters has been really important in allowing Scotland to champion wind – let’s take a look at the sites themselves.
Where will these turbines be placed?
The CES had put forward 15 sites across Scottish waters. Of those sites, 14 have been fully or partially used, with 17 separate projects all in all. The areas with successful project bids range from two large clusters off Moray and Aberdeenshire stretching north to (and sandwiching) Orkney, to north of Lewis and one situated north-west of Islay. The image below, published by Crown Estates Scotland, shows just how large and widespread those sites are.
How seriously did companies take the bid?
Very. The bid surpassed even optimistic expectations, with a grand total of almost £700m going into the public purse. The highest option fee was by Shell, a cool offer of £86m for an area with an expected capacity of 2GW. The very fact that a company known the world over as an oil giant is willing to sink so much capital into this renewables auction is indicative of the intent of large energy companies to get their slice of the renewables pie. The other bidders include Falck Renewables, SSE Renewables and Scottish Power Renewables.
Okay you’ve told me about the money, but what is the scale of ScotWind?
Well, currently Scotland has some 1.9GW of energy generation from offshore wind, with another 8.4GW being constructed or developed. This auction sold enough space to construct some 1,000 turbines, harnessing enough wind to generate an estimated 25GW of energy – that’s a huge leap forward for the Scottish wind sector! Better yet, that number may well increase if technology advances and efficiency improves.
The Big Push for Wind
It’s pretty clear that Scotland’s wind sector will be growing in the coming years. The Scottish Government are aiming for Net Zero, are inviting industry in, and are hoping to export wind-fuelled electricity in the future. As a bonus, the Scottish Government have expressed optimism about job creation in the wind industry for Scots.
If you want to work with wind turbines, you’ll need GWO training from an approved provider. At NRS Training Services, we offer both GWO Basic Safety Training and GWO Basic Technical Training in the central belt of Scotland. We also now offer both GWO First Aid and GWO Fire Awareness as on-site training across the UK for larger groups. Book via our website or enquire by emailing us at email@example.com.