Shell and ScottishPower have secured joint offers for seabed rights to develop the world’s first large-scale floating wind farms in UK waters as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind leasing. The partners have won two sites representing a total of 5 GW off the east and north-east coast of Scotland.

The new wind farms will be delivered through two joint ventures called MarramWind and CampionWind.

‘Shell and ScottishPower can now look forward to generating floating wind power at significant scale in the UK to accelerate the country’s transition towards net zero,’ says Wael Sawan, Integrated Gas and Renewables and Energy Solutions Director at Shell. ‘Floating wind plays to our strengths in deeper offshore projects, and we are well placed to help advance the wider take-up of this important clean energy source. Renewable electricity will play an increasingly important role in our customer-focused strategy, as we provide more low-carbon products and services customers need for their own journey to net zero.’

Once built, MarramWind’s and CampionWind’s floating wind projects could accommodate a total generation capacity of around 3 GW and 2 GW, respectively, bringing clean energy to power the equivalent of 6 million homes in Scotland. This is more than double the number of homes in Scotland today. It is also hoped the project will boost jobs, manufacturing opportunities and local supply chains.

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In addition to the 5 GW in floating wind, ScottishPower also landed a third offshore wind bid, the MachairWind project off the coast of Islay of 2 GW. This project will consist of bottom-fixed turbines.

Floating wind farm

Floating offshore wind is suitable for use in deeper water zones, where fixed foundations are not feasible, making it ideal for Scottish waters. Almost eighty per cent of Europe’s offshore wind resource is situated in waters too deep for conventional bottom-fixed wind turbines. Floating wind platforms are a proven technology to unlock these deeper waters, but this will be the first time they are planned to be deployed at this scale anywhere in the world.

The joint ventures have already started initial development planning and will continue to work at pace towards final investment decisions. The partners state they will use innovative technology to install turbines further from shore to catch more powerful winds, but have not yet specified what this entails.

Also read: DEME lands first floating offshore wind farm contract