Scotland’s £30bn offshore bounty  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Herald in Scotland has an article on the country's growing offshore wind industry - Scotland’s £30bn offshore bounty.

Unbeknown to most of us, offshore wind has actually been building up a head of steam since the start of the decade.

Mainland wind farms and their battles with local protesters might have seen most of the headlines, but the first few demonstration offshore farms started quietly appearing five or six years ago.

In the Moray Firth in Scotland, two vast turbines were erected next to the Beatrice oil field by Talisman Energy and Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), while slightly larger installations were put up in Inner Dowsing and Lynn in Humberside and other places such as North Hoyle off North Wales and Scroby Sands off Norfolk.

Territorial waters owner the Crown Estate, meanwhile, started awarding larger concessions around England and Wales in the so-called Round Two programme in 2003. This created a potential off-coast capacity of 8GW through big future farms such as the Thames Estuary’s London Array (1GW), Triton Knoll off Norfolk (1.2GW) and Gwynt Y Mor off North Wales (750MW).

Scotland was ignored at this stage, since its waters were seen as deeper and more treacherous, but then received a whopping 6.4GW of potential capacity through the Scottish Territorial Waters Round late in 2008.

The whole country is now waiting to see how the Crown Estate decides to allocate its Round Three concessions, which concern nine mega-sites in deeper waters comprising a further 25GW of potential capacity, including four more gigawatts in Scotland.

To put that in context, the UK offshore industry is eventually expected to be four times the size of the onshore industry. Or another way, the 10GW offshore planned for Scotland will be larger than UK onshore wind as a whole. When you factor in grid connections, the first £1.15 billion phase of which is currently being tendered by energy watchdog Ofgem, the estimated total cost is £160bn, at least £30bn of which will be spent in Scotland.

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