Subscribe to Holyrood updates

Newsletter sign-up


Follow us

Scotland’s fortnightly political & current affairs magazine


Subscribe to Holyrood
by Keith Anderson and David Bunch
08 September 2021
Associate Feature: Floating our way to a better future, quicker

Associate Feature: Floating our way to a better future, quicker

In just a few weeks, the eyes of the world will be on Scotland as the UK hosts the COP26: UN Climate Change Conference. COP is our opportunity – as a nation – to show leadership on tackling the climate emergency and making Net Zero happen

Scotland has long been a leader in tackling climate change and that’s something we can all be proud of. We’ve left our global status as a hub for heavy industry in the past and firmly positioned ourselves at the forefront of the green industrial revolution. As a country, our record speaks for itself. In 2009, Scotland introduced what was – at the time – the world’s most ambitious climate change legislation. Since then, Scotland has continued to innovate and lead the way to a cleaner and greener future.

We’ve been coal-free since 2016; we were one of the first nations to declare a global climate emergency in 2019; more than 97 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand in 2020 was generated from renewables; and, of course, we’re working to become Net Zero by 2045 – five years ahead of the rest of the UK. What we’ve achieved to date is great and really shows the progress we’re making in the journey to Net Zero, but it’s not enough. We need to do more and build more renewables – at speed and at scale – to support the increased demand we’ll see for clean, green electricity as we ditch our petrol and diesel cars, electrify public transport, get rid of gas boilers, and move to electric heating for our homes. Scotland has a brilliant opportunity to do that through the ScotWind Leasing process, which is being run by Crown Estate Scotland.

ScotWind will create up to 10GW of new clean, green energy – enough to power every household in the country – by granting seabed rights for new large-scale offshore wind project developments. This includes ‘fixed-bottom’ projects (where turbines are fixed to the seabed through drilled or piled foundations) and, for the first time, floating offshore wind. Floating wind is ideal for Scottish waters as it’s suitable for use in deeper waters where fixed foundations won’t work.

As the windiest country in Europe – with the biggest and most experienced offshore sector and supply chain – this puts us in prime position to become the world-leader in floating wind. And that brings tremendous opportunities. Creating a new green offshore industry will deliver billions of pounds of investment in green projects and thousands of new jobs, with skills and experience that can be exported globally. It will give the country, and the economy, the kind of boost we saw decades ago when oil and gas developers moved into the North Sea. Driving the clean energy transition through large-scale floating offshore windfarms will also support local supply chains and deliver real and long-lasting benefits for communities across the country, so it’s a real win-win for everyone.

To help realise these benefits and create a competitive commercial sector in Scotland that puts the country on the map as the global destination for floating offshore wind, we’ve partnered with Shell to submit multiple proposals for ScotWind – based on new floating offshore windfarms off the east and north-east coast of Scotland. With decades of experience working offshore and delivering some of the world’s major energy infrastructure projects – combined with a significant presence in Scotland – we have the skills and experience needed to deliver our bold and ambitious proposals and ensure they create a positive legacy for people, businesses and communities. That means jobs,

investment and opportunities – not just in the short-term, but for generations to come – and that’s what makes ScotWind, and everything it offers, so exciting.

At ScottishPower, we’ve already shown that it’s possible to make the move from fossil fuels to renewables and we now only produce 100% clean, green energy. ScotWind creates the potential for us to go further and faster than ever before to create more renewable energy, combining the fantastic natural resources we have here in Scotland with the latest in floating wind technology. I hope to see a positive outcome for our floating offshore wind proposals with Shell when the results of the applications are announced by Crown Estate Scotland, so we can continue to do what we do best and work towards a cleaner, greener and better future, quicker.

Keith Anderson, CEO ScottishPower


Ready to deliver

Almost 80% of Europe’s offshore wind resource is situated in waters too deep for conventional bottom-fixed wind turbines. Floating wind platforms are a proven technology to unlock these deeper waters. Shell is already developing floating projects in France, Norway, Ireland and South Korea. However, floating wind technology has yet to be delivered at scale. Now, through the ScotWind seabed leasing process, we have the opportunity to do so right here in the UK.

The opportunity with ScotWind is unique for three reasons. First, its large acreage will enable development of the world’s first commercial-scale floating wind farms which will drive down the cost of deployment and support the Scottish supply chain. Second, winning developers will gain access to some of the best wind resource in Europe. Third, and most importantly, developers such as Shell can leverage 50 years of offshore expertise, infrastructure and supply chains as they develop this innovative new deep-water technology.

know the prize of a Net Zero North Sea will be huge – indeed, a report from the Offshore Wind Industry Council last year concluded that the combination of mass floating offshore wind and green hydrogen could be worth £48 billion to the UK economy in exports alone. The report noted that this is “comparable with the best years of the North Sea oil and gas industry”. Shell, together with our partner ScottishPower, stand ready to deliver.

David Bunch

Country Chair; Shell UK

This article was sponsored by Scottish Power.

Holyrood Newsletters

Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe



Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox

Get award-winning journalism delivered straight to your inbox


Popular reads
Back to top