SSE Renewables, along with partners Japanese conglomerate Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni) and Danish fund management company Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) have won rights in the competitive ScotWind leasing round to develop what will become one of the world’s largest floating offshore wind farms off the east coast of Scotland.

In the ScotWind results announced today by Crown Estate Scotland, the SSE Renewables-Marubeni-CIP partnership has won rights to 858 square kilometres of seabed that will support the development of a new giant floating offshore wind farm. The seabed is in the E1 Zone in the Firth of Forth off the Angus Coast and is one of the largest lease areas to be offered by Crown Estate Scotland to any bidder in the ScotWind process. It is near to the existing 1.1GW Seagreen offshore wind farm project which SSE Renewables is currently constructing, as well as SSE Renewables’ planned 4.1GW Berwick Bank super-project, which is currently in development. 

The lease area has average water depths of 72m, making the site suitable for the deployment of floating offshore wind turbines to deliver up to 2.6GW of new installed capacity – enough to be capable of powering almost 4.3 million Scottish homes and offsetting around 5 million tonnes of harmful carbon emissions each year. When complete, the project will become one of the world’s largest floating offshore wind farms, positioning Scotland as a global leader in floating offshore wind technology.

The successful SSE Renewables-Marubeni-CIP consortium, which has unrivalled local and global experience in the delivery of offshore wind using fixed and floating turbines, will now begin progressing the development of the giant ScotWind project to target first-generation before the end of the decade. Once operational, the project will significantly contribute to the Scottish Government’s significantly enhanced ambition of delivering around 25GW of next-generation offshore wind projects via ScotWind.

Success for SSE Renewables-Marubeni-CIP in the ScotWind leasing round paves the way for the partnership to deliver substantially on economic and social benefits worth billions of pounds for Scotland.  This includes the creation of a multi-million-pound supply chain fund to directly invest into Scottish companies and achieve spending of circa 50% in the Scottish economy from the projects over their lifetime as well as supporting the transition of Scottish Oil and Gas sector companies to enter the offshore wind sector. Other Scottish benefits to be delivered include funding for education, skills and community benefit, as well as the delivery of targeted research and employability initiatives in collaboration with the University of Highlands and Islands and other providers. Full details on these initiatives will be announced in the coming months.

Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Renewables, said: “We’re delighted to have been successful in winning our preferred site in the highly competitive ScotWind process, which is testament to the strength of our partnership with Marubeni and CIP. Together, our unique blend of local experience with global expertise means we are now set to deliver up to 2.6GW of new offshore wind under ScotWind.

“SSE is playing a major role in delivering Scotland’s offshore wind ambitions for 2030 and beyond, with the construction of Seagreen in the near term, development of Berwick Bank and now this ScotWind project which will be one of the largest floating wind sites in the world. These projects form a core part of SSE’s recently announced Net Zero Acceleration Programme which will see a trebling of the company’s renewables capacity by 2031.”

Hisafumi Manabe, President & CEO of Marubeni Offshore Wind Development Corporation, said: “We are honoured to have been successful in the ScotWind process which is a tremendous opportunity for our consortium to effectively utilise its wide variety of experiences gained from our offshore wind projects both in Scotland and abroad. Marubeni will continue to contribute our know-how and expertise acquired from multiple offshore wind projects, including floating demonstration projects in Japan. We are confident that the partnership of SSE, CIP and Marubeni will energise the local economy and will bring about further development of the related supply chain in Scotland, which in turn will be instrumental in reaching Net Zero.”

Michael Hannibal, Partner at CIP, said: “The announcement that our ScotWind bid has been successful is fantastic news and provides an excellent opportunity for CIP in collaboration with our partners to continue making a significant contribution to the green transition by leveraging the full force of our combined power of innovation, expertise and services. With CIP’s 100MW Pentland floating offshore wind project already in development, it will provide a unique stepping stone and key experience to allow our partnership deliver this ScotWind project and realise all the significant economic benefits for Scotland which it will deliver.”

SSE owns a 40% share of the development rights with Marubeni and CIP each owning 30%. The partnership has already invested over £7m in pre-award development of the project. Now, with success in the ScotWind seabed leasing round and subject to signing the lease Option Agreement with Crown Estate Scotland in Spring 2022, the partnership’s project team will be expanded to accelerate project delivery with a view to submitting a timely consent application.

Image source: Courtesy of SSE Renewables