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Scrabster harbour one step closer to capitalising from offshore windfarm development


By Jean Gunn

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Scrabster Harbour.
Scrabster Harbour.

A major Scottish consortium behind the West of Orkney Windfarm project – a "once in a generation opportunity" for Scrabster – has successfully secured rights for the development.

Behind the project are Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG), TotalEnergies and RIDG, known to the Crown Estate Scotland as Offshore Wind Power. The project is to be located 30km off the coast of Orkney.

The news comes today (Monday) as Crown Estate Scotland announced the 17 successful bidders of ScotWind – the first seabed leasing round in Scotland for a decade.

This two-gigawatt project, which aims to start producing renewable power by 2030, represents potentially more than £4 billion of investment.

As part of the development, the partners will unlock a £140m initiative to support the development of the local supply chain, including the enhancement of ports and harbour infrastructure in Orkney and Caithness. This will ensure high levels of local content and actively promote employment and innovation in the region.

The project brings together a network of strategic local relationships including Orkney Harbour Authority, Scrabster Harbour Trust and the European Marine Energy Centre.

As previously reported, when the bid was confirmed last October, Sandy Mackie, Scrabster Harbour Trust manager, said: "Offshore wind is a once in a generation opportunity for Scrabster Harbour to capitalise on its capability as an operations and maintenance base for a new fleet of offshore wind farms – which could create sustainable long-term skilled local jobs for decades ahead.

"We continue to invest strategically in our port infrastructure – most recently in the Ola Pier and deepwater basin – and our longstanding engagement with the West of Orkney Windfarm gives us confidence to not only further think and plan strategically for the port, but also to engage more widely to explore how Scrabster and West Caithness can seize the wider economic, educational and social opportunity of offshore wind in Scotland."

A diagram of the Scapa deep water layout.
A diagram of the Scapa deep water layout.

The consortium has already undertaken extensive site investigations, especially in relation to the environment, to ensure that the project fully meets its sustainable development objectives. The consortium has also finalised a grid connection agreement with National Grid.

Once built, the windfarm could also deliver renewable power to the Flotta Hydrogen Hub, a proposed large-scale green hydrogen production facility in Orkney.

Mark Dooley, global head of GIG, said: "We have been a long-term investor in the UK offshore wind sector, with an established Scottish footprint – and we are delighted that our commitment to these markets has been recognised.

"We believe this option agreement will be truly transformational for the wider Scottish economy, unlocking new ways to accelerate the transition to net zero and creating hundreds of green jobs. We look forward to working with our stakeholders and all the winning bidders to seize this new opportunity for Scotland.”

Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and CEO of TotalEnergies, said: "We are very proud to have been awarded by Crown Estate Scotland the leasing rights to develop this offshore wind farm, TotalEnergies’ largest renewables project in Europe to date.

"This project, which will complement our traditional activities in Scotland, is a perfect example of the transformation of our company. We will provide all our resources from our new UK Offshore Wind Hub in Aberdeen, which will draw on the expertise and supply chain of our oil and gas activities and on Scottish industry, all in close collaboration with the local communities.

"This project further demonstrates our commitment to the sustainable development of offshore wind and will contribute to our goal of reaching 100 gigawatt (GW) of renewable generation capacity by 2030."

Mike Hay, RIDG director.
Mike Hay, RIDG director.

Mike Hay, RIDG director, said: "It’s fantastic that Crown Estate Scotland share our vision for the West of Orkney Windfarm, a project that has been designed specifically around this location to benefit local communities, transition Scottish workers from oil and gas into renewables, and to act as a catalyst for supply chain growth.

"Since submitting our bid we have continued to advance development and supply chain activities to ensure that we deliver on the objectives set out within it, and to maximise the economic opportunity from the expansion of offshore wind and green hydrogen in Scotland."

To date, Macquarie and GIG have supported more than half of UK offshore wind generation capacity in operation. And, with a development pipeline of 35 GW across more than 300 green projects, GIG is one of the world’s leading green investors and developers. GIG has invested in over 30 green energy projects in Scotland, supporting hundreds of sustainable Scottish jobs.

The West of Orkney Windfarm is the fourth major offshore wind project that TotalEnergies has embarked on in the UK since 2020. The company now has interests in projects with around 5 GW of potential capacity under development and construction in the UK. These projects will come on stream between 2023 and 2030.

An offshore windfarm. Picture: Getty Images
An offshore windfarm. Picture: Getty Images

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