The Crown Estate, which manages the UK waters, has awarded leases for five new offshore wind sites around the Scottish coast totalling a possible 5 GW.
The new sites at Argyll Array and Islay on the west coast, Beatrice in the Moray Firth and at Inch Cape and Neart na Gaoithe in the Outer Forth and Tay add to the Round 3 zones, taking the total capacity to nearly 10 GW.
Scottish Power Renewables will develop the Argyll Array site, while SSE Renewables has been awarded the Islay lease. The other leases have been awarded to Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm, Repsol Nuevas Energias UK (for Inch Cape) and Mainstream Renewable Power (for Neart na Gaoithe).
The developing offshore wind capacity is in line with the Scottish Government’s targets for achieving 100% renewable electricity in the region.
“The Crown Estate has already invested £16 million in offshore renewable energy in Scotland, and plans to invest another £20 million in the next five years,” says the organisation’s commissioner for Scotland, Gareth Baird.
He says that The Crown Estate will continue to work closely with the region’s government to move the projects along and attract investors.
The final say on the development of the sites rests with Marine Scotland, which ensures projects meet statutory environmental, safety and operational standards, but the awards will allow developers to move ahead with their projects and prepare applications.
Meanwhile, work is pressing ahead with The Crown Estate’s Round 3 offshore wind programme.
The first piles and masts are being installed at SMart Wind’s Hornsea zone, which will ultimately generate 400 MW off the Yorkshire coast – enough to power three million homes.
The developers, backed by Siemens and Mainstream Renewable Power, are using a new design called a twisted jacket pile, which requires less steel than existing designs and could reduce costs by 10%.
The prototype is being tried out as part of the Carbon Trust’s Offshore Wind Accelerator (OWA) competition, which selected four new foundation designs for testing.
“The first pile going into the water marks another significant step for Round 3, and demonstrates how cutting edge technology is at the heart of developing the UK's offshore renewables capability,” says Rob Hastings, director of the marine estate at The Crown Estate.
For further information:
UK’s Energy Technologies Institute rests hopes on floating wind turbine (27-Oct)
UK renewable electricity reaches record high of nearly 10% (30-Sept)
Offshore wind costs could drop by a third, says RenewableUK (1-Jul)
ScottishPower Renewables’ latest wind farms take UK capacity to 1 GW (15-Jun)
31 October 2011