Scotland’s first offshore wind leasing round in more than a decade has closed to applicants.
More than a dozen companies, ranging from big oil to renewables giants, have signed, sealed and delivered their bids to secure seabed rights around the Scottish coast.
And the offshore wind industry will now wait with baited breath to see which firms are chosen to choreograph Scotland’s low carbon future.
Organised by Crown Estate Scotland (CES), ScotWind is a cornerstone of Holyrood’s legally binding target to reduce emissions to net zero by 2045.
Developers compete to secure property rights for seabeds, opening the door for them to build commercial offshore wind farms.
More than a dozen plots of land are up for grabs, several of which are located off the north-east coast.
A lot of the focus will be on floating offshore wind developments, which are currently few and far between.
The technology will be fundamental to scaling up green energy capacity as it can be positioned in deeper, windier waters, which are out of the reach of fixed bottom.
ScotWind closed to applicants at 5pm on Friday, July 16, with CES expected to confirm who has won what early next year.
Despite the impressive list of companies that have thrown their names into the hat, ScotWind hasn’t always gone to plan.
The process has been hit by a number of delays, the latest of which was announced in March, about a month before the original deadline date.
The hold up was sparked by a need to hold a review of the process, after big oil flexed its considerable financial muscle in the equivalent leasing round in England and Wales.
BP stumped up £900 million for a combined 3 gigawatts of projects in the Irish Sea, while Total, now TotalEnergies, forked out more than £100m to secure acreage in the Southern North Sea.
And while ScotWind has included a maximum bid threshold of £100,000 per square kilometre, meaning the same eye watering sums won’t be replicated, a number of the industry’s largest players are in the running.
BP and EnBW
As it did in the leasing process in England and Wales, BP has teamed up with Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) of Germany for ScotWind.
The London-listed supermajor has made several moves in recent months to expand its renewables operations as it sets course for a low carbon future.
A boss at BP previously said a successful ScotWind bid could extend the company’s stay in the North Sea, where it has been at the forefront of oil and gas for the last 50 years, by several more decades.
In order to help the Scottish supply chain secure and bid for work, BP has set up an online portal to advertise opportunities.
TotalEnergies, Green Investment Group and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group
Fresh off the back of its energy transition rebrand, TotalEnergies, formally Total, announced its ScotWind entry.
Alongside Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) and Renewable Infrastructure Development Group, the French supermajor has formed the Offshore Wind Power Ltd (OWPL) consortium.
The trio are aiming to deliver “world class” developments while also providing work for the domestic supply chain.
TotalEnergies other renewables ventures include a 51% stake in the Seagreen offshore wind farm, which is on course to be Scotland’s largest.
Shell and ScottishPower
With cash and expertise in bountiful supply, the partnership of Shell and ScottishPower is one of ScotWind’s biggest hitters.
The duo confirmed their involvement in the leasing round just hours before the deadline, sharing ambitious plans to develop the “world’s first” large-scale floating wind farm off the north-east coast.
“Multiple proposals” have been submitted to the CES, a tantalising glimpse at what Scotland’s future offshore wind sector could look like.
The partnership of Shell and ScottishPower is arguably ScotWind’s biggest power couple.
Shell’s track record of delivering huge energy projects is there for all to see. Meanwhile, ScottishPower is a subsidiary of Spanish firm Iberdrola, one of Europe’s biggest wind developers.
Their partnership encapsulates the enormous potential that lies in Scotland’s natural resources.
Eni and Red Rock Power
With less than a week to go until the ScotWind deadline, Eni and Red Rock Power announced they had teamed up in order to enter the process.
The pair will be supported by Transmission Investment, which will deliver expertise in grid infrastructure, a pressing issue for Scottish wind farms.
Not content with just bidding in ScotWind, Red Rock Power and Eni also said they were looking at future renewables opportunities in Scotland, as well as ways to support and grow the local supply chain.
Italian energy giant Eni has a target to deliver 60 GW of renewables capacity by 2050
The Norwegian energy giant said the North Sea has “among the world’s best” natural resources and is an area of specific interest for its expanding renewables operations.
In 2017, Equinor’s Hywind Scotland floating offshore wind farm, the first commercial development of its kind, began operating off the coast of Peterhead, Aberdeenshire.
Ocean Winds and Aker Offshore Wind
With an established offshore wind foothold in Scotland, it seemed only a matter of time before Ocean Winds (OW) confirmed its involvement.
The Edinburgh-based company, a joint venture by European firms EDP Renewables and ENGIE, is behind the Moray East development, currently under construction off the Aberdeenshire coast.
Meanwhile, it’s Moray West development is looking to secure a Contract for Difference (CfD), having previously missed out.
For its ScotWind bid, OW has teamed up with Norwegian firm Aker Offshore Wind to develop floating offshore wind farms – the two companies are currently working together on projects in the US and South Korea.
Vattenfall and Fred Olsen Renewables
Another company with a strong renewables track record in Scotland taking part in the leasing process is Vattenfall.
The Swedish energy firm developed the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay as a test bed for future technologies.
In order to support its commitment to help Scotland to net zero, Vattenfall partnered up with Fred. Olsen Renewables, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bonheur ASA, to bid in ScotWind.
SSE Renewables, Marubeni Corporation and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
One of the first companies to confirm its involvement in ScotWind back in November was SSE Renewables.
The Perth-headquartered company is bidding in partnership with Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation and Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).
The trio recently announced a partnership with the University of the Highlands and Islands to help nurture the renewables skills of the future.
SSE Renewables has a majority stake in the Beatrice offshore wind farm, which is currently Scotland’s largest.
Ørsted, Falck Renewables and BlueFloat Energy
Just after the turn of the year and shortly after ScotWind opened to applicants, Ørsted confirmed plans to bid in the process.
And last week the Danish company announced it had partnered with Falck Renewables and floating wind specialist BlueFloat Energy.
The consortium said it plans to apply for seabed leases in sites which lend themselves to the deployment of “large-scale floating wind technology”.
South of the border, Ørsted is a front runner in bottom fixed winds farms, with more than 10 developments in operation.
The firm recently installed its 1000th turbine in UK waters.
TechnipFMC and Magnora Floating Wind
In order to drive the deployment of floating turbines, energy services giant TechnipFMC is entering ScotWind alongside Magnora Floating Wind, an arm of Norwegian renewable energy company Magnora ASA.
The partnership is aiming to realise “significant opportunities” in the offshore wind market.
It will also look to incorporate green hydrogen, which is made using water and renewable electricity.
BayWa r.e., Elicio and Ideol
Hailing from Germany, Belgium and France respectively, the consortium of BayWa r.e., Elicio and Ideol perfectly encapsulate the global interest in Scotland’s natural resources.
Although they haven’t given much away about their joint bid, Ideol is a front runner in floating offshore wind thanks to its Floatgen demonstration turbine, launched in partnership with BW Offshore.Bay
Wa r.e. employs about 75 people in Scotland and manages 890 megawatts of onshore wind projects across the UK.