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‘It will bring billions’: Europe’s largest floating windfarm approved off Peterhead coast

Energy tycoon Sir Ian Wood said the decision is a "massive boost" for the north-east and hundreds of jobs will be created.

A floating offshore wind turbine in the North Sea, similar to how the Peterhead windfarm could look
The floating offshore windfarm will be located off the coast of Peterhead. Image: Flotation Energy.

One of the world’s largest floating windfarms has been approved off the Aberdeenshire coast, in what will be a jobs boost for the region.

Green Volt – which is owned 50% each by Aberdeen-based Flotation Energy and Norwegian firm Vargronn – is Europe’s first commercial-scale floating windfarm.

The approval will trigger up to £3 billion in investment, according to north-east energy tycoon Sir Ian Wood, who hailed the decision as a “massive boost” for the region.

Energy industry doyen Sir Ian Wood.
Energy tycoon Sir Ian Wood said the project is a “massive boost” for the north-east. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

The billionaire businessman also said the project will create hundreds of jobs.

The windfarm located off of Aberdeenshire’s east coast near Peterhead will have up to 35 turbines at a power of 560 MW.

Peterhead windfarm a stepping stone

In what will be seen as a boost for the north-east as it transitions away from oil and gas towards cleaner energies, the project has been described as being an “essential stepping stone” from current small-scale projects to gigawatt-size developments.

Green Volt is expected to support the renewables supply chain in scaling in, with the first commercial scale projects considered crucial in developing world-leading expertise and technology.

Green Volt Peterhead offshore windfarm map.
This map shows where the Green Volt offshore windfarm will be located. Image: Flotation Energy.

The project, which will boost the north-east economy, hopes to position the region, as well as the UK and Europe in becoming the home of future offshore wind jobs.

Its approval by Marine Scotland will go some way to ensuring that the North Sea Transition’s Deal target of halving the UK’s offshore greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 are met.

The power and grid-connection supplied through Green Volt will help to provide renewable energy to oil and gas platforms in the surrounding areas, which will replace power currently generated by diesel and gas turbines.

Windfarm to make north-east greener

It is expected to reduce carbon emissions by one million tonnes per year.

Reacting to getting the green light for the project, Flotation Energy chief executive Lord Nicol Stephen said: “It is fantastic to have received the green light to deliver the world’s biggest floating offshore wind project right here in the Scottish North Sea.

Lord Nicol Stephen.
Lord Nicol Stephen is the chief executive of Flotation Energy.

“This major milestone places Flotation Energy and our joint venture partner, Vargronn, firmly at the heart of the energy transition.

“Flotation Energy is headquartered in Scotland with its roots firmly in Aberdeen and the north-east.

We are already drawing on the world class energy skills and experience of the region – and now look forward to doing far more.”

Vargronn CEO Olav Hetland added: “With Green Volt being Europe’s first commercial-scale floating wind project, achieving offshore consent for the project marks an important moment for the whole offshore wind industry.

“Floating wind is set to be a huge global market in the decades to come. By being a frontrunner, Scotland is now positioned to be home to world-leading expertise and a whole industry of new jobs. Green Volt will deploy pioneering technology at an unprecedented scale, advancing what is possible in renewable energy.”

Peterhead windfarm a massive boost

Sir Ian, who is also chair of the Energy Transition Zone (ETZ), said: “The awarding of consent for the Green Volt INTOG project is a massive boost for Scotland’s ambition to be a global leader in floating offshore wind.

“This decision will unlock around £3bn of investment, generate hundreds of jobs and will effectively result in Europe’s first commercial scale floating wind development.

“Crucially, it also sends a huge signal to domestic and international investors that Scotland is indeed a pioneer in this technology and the ideal location to manufacture and deliver floating wind developments.”

Humza Yousaf opens the new Floating Wind Innovation Centre in Aberdeen.
First Minister Humza Yousaf welcomed the news. Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

First Minister Humza Yousaf – who this week scaled back on Scotland’s flagship climate change target – welcomed the move.

The SNP leader said: “It is great news that we have consented the first project in the Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round – this is a significant milestone which will help secure Scotland’s place at the forefront of floating wind technology.

“Scotland is one of the best places in the world to develop offshore wind and its supply chain, and we are determined to maximise the huge economic opportunity offshore wind can bring.”