The stakes in this winter’s poker game for the ScotWind round of offshore leases rose appreciably this week, as Ørsted pledged a £12 billion investment bonanza for suppliers, if Crown Estates Scotland awards it a clean sweep in all its bids.
Denmark’s turbine-turning titan is committed to five projects in Scots waters. Technically the most challenging is an 8.8GW park in the North Sea for floating masts.
The four remaining ventures include two on its own and two as part of a consortium. The latter pair, where the Danes are linked to Spanish developers Blue Float Energy and Milan-based Falck Renewables, would deliver other floating farms.
Duncan Clark, head of UK region for Ørsted, told Keith Findlay of Aberdeen’s Press and Journal, “We’ve already started development works to ensure we hit the ground running – engaging with supply chain companies and the offshore wind clusters”.
Scotland: the Saudi o’ wind, but wi nae sand
Ørsted’s schemes involving a mix of fixed and floating masts, underpin Clark’s pledge to work with Scottish ports and suppliers, in developing infrastructure and a supply chain that will establish the country as “a leading player in the global offshore wind market’.
Clark said Scotland “undoubtedly has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world”.
Clark added that the auction paved the way for Scotland to make the most of its “superb offshore wind potential, and world-leading offshore engineering and contracting capabilities”, while also unlocking investment that will create jobs and opportunities for Scotland-based businesses. It is a “pivotal moment” for the development of the country’s offshore wind sector.
Ørsted employs over 1,000 of its 6,000 staff in the UK. It describes itself as a global leader in offshore wind, with 27 sites generating across Europe, America, and Asia-Pacific.
“In building and equipping our teams in Scotland, we will use this experience to deliver large-scale projects into operation by 2030, in line with the Scottish Government’s target of 11GW of installed offshore wind by this date,” Clark told Aberdeen’s newspaper.
Martin Neuber, the generator’s chief commercial officer, explained why the company is prepared to invest so heavily in developing and constructing offshore wind farms:
“Ørsted has the largest development pipeline in the offshore wind industry and it’s our clear ambition to remain the global market leader in offshore wind.
“We committed to these ambitious plans for the ScotWind leasing round not only because Scotland can play a key role in achieving our aspiration, but because we firmly believe our scale and experience in offshore wind puts us in a unique position to help Scotland transition to a low carbon economy”.
Scotwind is the first round of competitive leasing of plots run by Crown Estates Scotland in ten years. Bids closed in July. Successful operators are due to receive their good news in December.
Other declared bidders include Shell and Scottish Power, and Italian oil firm ENI in partnership with developers Red Rock Power.