This week, a major milestone for Scotland to transition away from fossil fuels and embrace green energy was reached.
If you haven't heard of ScotWind, it's a programme delivered by Crown Estate Scotland (CES) which will lease areas of the seabed around Scotland for wind farm developments. Over the last year, different developers have applied to the scheme and have submitted bids to be granted the rights to build wind farms in Scottish waters. ScotWind is a big deal for our energy sector and has attracted more than 70 bids from major oil, utility and investments funds all bidding for developments in 15 locations around the east, northeast, northern and western coast of Scotland.
On Monday, CES announced the ScotWind results and awarded 17 projects covering an area of 7,000km² - which has a combined potential to generate around 25GW of renewable energy through both fixed and floating structures.
The news marks an incredible opportunity for Scotland to firmly establish itself as a global leader in the generation of renewable energy. Early projections show that by the time these new wind farms are constructed, approximately six million tonnes of CO2 will be prevented from entering our atmosphere every year.
Due to its enviable location, Orkney is very well-suited in terms of its geography to support offshore wind developments. When we launched our Masterplan almost two years ago, we couldn't have predicted how much of an impact ScotWind could have on our plans for the future. With a large part of our Masterplan focused on supporting the offshore wind and renewable energy sectors, we have already been liaising with a number of ScotWind bids, as well as colleagues at Orkney Islands Council.
But the benefits of ScotWind doesn't just extend to revolutionising the generation of renewable energy in Scotland. Closer to home, the opportunities ScotWind brings will undoubtedly lead to job creation in the Orcadian community, as well as a boost to our local economy. We'll likely see increased income through harbour dues and the possibility of direct community benefit payments from the wind farms themselves.
Paul Olvhoj is our Business Development Manager at Orkney Harbours Authority and had this to say: “Our Masterplan clearly shows how Orkney can support the whole life cycle of windfarm development from assembly, installation, marshalling, operations and maintenance through to decommissioning.
“This week’s announcement has meant we’ve been able to take a significant step closer to achieving our vision of a greener, more sustainable environment for Orkney.
“Since launching our Masterplan in 2020 we have worked closely with our council colleagues, Crown Estate Scotland and industry partners to lay the foundations for what will be a long term plan to support decarbonisation and a transition away from fossil fuels.
“Orkney Harbours is one of the most diverse and successful council-run port authorities in the UK and there are few harbours in Scotland offering deep water quayside facilities like those at Scapa Flow.
“We congratulate the successful bidders and look forward to collaborating to achieve our shared goals.”
With the bidding element of the programme now out of the way, the hard work now begins. We can't wait to see how it all takes shape and how Orkney will benefit.