Scotland moves ahead with plans for wind power projects
Published: Jan 18, 2022 06:32 PM
The COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland Photo: VCG

The COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland Photo: VCG

Scotland, fresh from hosting the COP26 climate summit, on Monday awarded offshore wind project concessions for almost 700 million pounds ($960 million).

Crown Estate Scotland announced in a statement that it has granted 17 concessions via an auction process to energy companies including BP and SSE, as well as Spain's Iberdrola and France's TotalEnergies.

The final awards received a total of 74 bids, totaled 699.2 million pounds in the first leasing round in a decade, according to the public investment body which hailed it as a "move towards a net zero economy."

Scotland's planned new projects will have a combined power generation capacity of 25 gigawatts (GW), which is equal to Europe's current offshore wind power capacity.

The news comes after Glasgow played host to the COP26 summit in November 2021, when major world powers agreed to curb the use of fossil fuels.

"Today's results are a fantastic vote of confidence in Scotland's ability to transform our energy sector," said Crown Estate Scotland boss Simon Hodge in the statement.

"In addition to the environmental benefits, this also represents a major investment in the Scottish economy," Hodge added.

Most of Scotland's planned new sites are on the east, northeast or northern coast, with just one on the western side of the devolved nation. 

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon praised the announcement, saying that it was "possibly one of the most significant days in energy and industrial terms that Scotland has seen for a very, very long time."

The proposed 17 developments, a combination of floating, fixed and mixed turbines, will cover more than 7,000 square kilometers of seabed.

"I think it's hard, really hard, to overstate the significance of today's announcement for our energy, environmental and economic future," said Sturgeon.

"What's been announced today, although there's lots of work to be done to bring it to fruition, really has the potential not just to meet energy needs from renewable sources, but to position us as a major exporter in renewable energy and green hydrogen, but it also brings massive opportunities for the economy."

Sturgeon also cited estimates that the Scottish economy would win a 1 billion pound boost per gigawatt of power, which would give a total benefit of around 25 billion pounds.