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Shell and ScottishPower launch ScotWind bid to develop floating wind farm off north-east coast

Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power
Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power

Oil and gas giant Shell has confirmed plans to participate in the ScotWind leasing round at the eleventh hour.

Alongside ScottishPower, the Anglo-Dutch supermajor is bidding to develop the “world’s first” large-scale floating wind farm off the north-east coast.

The partnership has submitted “multiple proposals” for the new development as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s offshore leasing round.

ScotWind, the first process its kind in Scottish waters for more than a decade, closes to submissions today.

Shell boasts decades of experience working in the North Sea with the oil and gas industry and has a “significant presence” in Scotland, including a base in Aberdeen.

It also has an “extensive track record” of delivering “complex and innovative” offshore energy projects.

Together, Shell and ScottishPower said they provide the “right blend of skills and experience” to successfully deliver ambitious renewables projects.

ScottishPower is a subsidiary of Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, one of Europe’s biggest producers of wind power.

Despite being relatively new and costly, floating turbines will be fundamental if the Scottish Government is to hit its offshore wind capacity target of 11 gigawatts by 2030.

They are suitable for use in deeper, windier waters that are out of reach for fixed foundations.

As the deployment of offshore turbines soars in coming years and space in shallow areas becomes sparse, floating wind farms will allow for continued expansion.

The north-east is already home to two floating developments; Hywind Scotland, off the coast of Peterhead, and Kincardine, which is being installed between Aberdeen and Stonehaven.

David Bunch, Shell UK country chairman, said: “If our bid is successful, Shell and Scottish Power are fully committed to working with Scottish communities and businesses to help develop supply chains and expertise which could make Scotland a world leader in floating wind.

“At Shell we continue to grow our capacity to generate, trade and supply cleaner power to our customers and to play our part in powering the UK to net zero.”

Since ScotWind opened to applications in January, a number of the energy industry’s biggest players have announced plans to bid in the process.

That includes oil majors such as BP and TotalEnergies, formerly Total, as well as renewables giants Orsted and Vattenfall.

ScotWind allows developers to secure rights to seabed acreage, creating a path for them to build offshore wind farm.

It is expected to unlock billions of pounds worth of investment, while Highland port bosses are hopeful it could create a 50-year pipeline of work.

The process was originally meant to wrap up in March but was delayed to allow a review to be carried out after Big Oil, including BP, splashed the cash to secure leases south of the border.

Crown Estate Scotland is expected to announce the results of ScotWind early next year.

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower chief executive, said: “Scotland is the windiest country in Europe and has the biggest and most experienced offshore sector.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power said: “Bringing ScottishPower and Shell’s collective knowledge, experience and expertise together means we’re perfectly placed to lead the way in developing large-scale offshore floating windfarms and creating a new green industry with massive potential for exporting our skills and experience globally and helping the UK decarbonise its energy generation.

“With just a few months until the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, ScotWind will help create a whole new industry in floating wind that will play a crucial role in putting the country on course for a cleaner and greener future.”

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