Energy giants spanning oil, nuclear and power transmission are pledging upwards of £10 billion to spin floating and fixed wind turbines off Scotland’s east coast.
Rivals BP and Shell, the latter in alliance with Scottish Power, are committing bids for generation licences, to be awarded in Round 4 of the upcoming ScotWind offshore auctions.
Ball-park new capacity envisaged in the round could be as high as 10GW, contributing to the 40GW extra wind power which scientific advisors the Climate Change Committee say is essential this decade.
Partnering with regional German generator EnBW, BP threw its hat in the ring yesterday, promising a repeat of the Aberdeenshire coast’s 1970s oil boom, centred this time on a lease for 2.9GW of offshore capacity.
Included in the partners’ £10 billion proposals are add-ons such increased green hydrogen generation onshore, a systemic boost for Scotland’s EV charging network, as well as dredging and extending harbours from Edinburgh to Aberdeen.
The Anglo-German partners have already inked an understanding with Forth Ports to inject unspecified funds into the port operator’s £40m Renewables Hub in Leith.
BP intends too developing a new skills college designed by consultancy Xodus, intended to foster on-the-job project experience and formal learning for workers entering the fast-expanding offshore wind sector.
If BP and EnBW secure development rights, the firms hold the prospect of Aberdeen re-living its 1970s glory days as a global centre for energy engineering. Exporting native-developed expertise around the globe could again yield income both for the Granite City and its decarbonised engineers.
“We believe ( our bid ) can help fuel Scotland’s wider energy transition,” said Dev Sanyal, BP’s executive vice president for a unit which interestingly straddles ‘gas and low carbon’.
Scotland’s offshore leasing Round Four is shaping up as a crowded arena for Europe’s energy super-majors to lock horns.
Shell and Scottish Power declared last week their intention to construct a major new floating offshore wind farm. RWE too has confirmed it will bid.
Vattenfall, TotalEnergies, and Ørsted are also expected to stump up to cultivate marine-anchored ‘white asparagus’, as turbine masts are known in Germany.