Sturgeon hails 'truly historic' ScotWind project after £700m rights auction
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the awarding of seabed rights to 17 offshore wind projects as a “truly historic” opportunity for Scotland.
Billions of pounds are set to be invested as the winners of the ScotWind offshore wind leasing auction were today announced by Crown Estate Scotland.
The 17 projects, with a combined potential generating capacity of 25GW, have been offered the rights to specific areas of the seabed for the development of offshore wind power - with developers giving commitments to invest in the Scottish supply chain.
According to the Scottish Government, the projects are expected to secure at least £1bn in supply chain investment for every 1GW of capacity proposed.
They will also generate around £700m in revenue for the Scottish Government and represent the world’s first commercial scale opportunity for floating offshore wind.
Commenting, Sturgeon said: “The scale of opportunity here is truly historic. ScotWind puts Scotland at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind, represents a massive step forward in our transition to net zero, and will help deliver the supply chain investments and high quality jobs that will make the climate transition a fair one.
“It allows us to make huge progress in decarbonising our energy supply – vital if we are to reduce Scotland’s emissions – while securing investment in the Scottish supply chain of at least £1bn for every gigawatt of power.
“This will be transformational. And because Scotland’s workers are superbly placed with transferable skills to capitalise on the transition to new energy sources, we have every reason to be optimistic about the number of jobs that can be created.
“That means, for example, that people working right now in the oil and gas sector in the north east of Scotland can be confident of opportunities for their future. The spread of projects across our waters promises economic benefits for communities the length and breadth of the country, ensuring Scotland benefits directly from the revolution in energy generation that is coming.
“The scale of opportunity represented in today’s announcement exceeds our current planning assumption of 10GW of offshore wind - which is a massive vote of confidence in Scotland. So we will now embark on the rigorous consenting process required to make sure we can maximise the potential that clearly exists in offshore wind while also ensuring that the impacts of large scale development – including on other marine users and the wider natural environment - are properly understood and addressed.
“While it is not yet possible to say with certainty what the scale of development will ultimately be, there is no doubt that the scale of this opportunity is transformational - both for our environment and the economy.”
Responding to the announcement by the Crown Estate Scotland, Fabrice Leveque, the climate and energy lead at WWF Scotland said: “These results are a big vote of confidence in renewable power and Scotland’s green economy.
“Offshore wind has a vital role to play in helping to cut our climate emissions, and is already powering hundreds of thousands of Scottish homes.
“As we electrify more of our transport system and change how we heat our homes and buildings, it’s only right we continue to harness the power of this natural resource right on our doorstep. Each of these projects could create hundreds of jobs and will have a role in helping put Scotland on a path to a green recovery.”
Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe