Contracts worth almost £700 million for new offshore wind farms along Scotland’s coasts is “one of the biggest, most significant days” in the nation’s energy and industrial future, Nicola Sturgeon has told Sky News.
The first minister said it was “really exciting” as it was announced 17 projects had been awarded contracts for the leasing of seabeds for the development of offshore schemes.
The nation’s largest-ever auction of permits to construct offshore wind farms has seen final awards totalling £699.2m and includes contracts with Scottish Power, Shell, SSE and BP.
The ScotWind Leasing bidding process had received 74 applications from energy firms with most of the sites on the east, northeast or northern coastlines.
‘Potential to create thousands of jobs’
Speaking to Ian King on Sky News, Ms Sturgeon said: “It’s really hard to overstate how significant and important today’s announcement is for Scotland’s energy, environmental and economic future.
“This gives us the potential to meet our own energy needs from renewable sources.
“It’s going to position Scotland as a major exporter of green energy, green hydrogen as well – and delivers massive economic benefits as well as the revenues that will flow to the Scottish government.
“The estimate is that for every gigawatt of power generated from these projects in due course, there will be a billion pounds of investment in the supply chain and that has the potential to create thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of jobs.
“So, as we make this transition to net-zero to meet the climate emergency, this helps ensure Scotland can do that in a fair and a just way that creates new jobs to replace those in oil and gas, for example, which we are in the process of transitioning away from.
“This is perhaps one of the biggest, most significant days in terms of Scotland’s energy and industrial future that we’ve had in a very, very long time. Really exciting.”
‘Fantastic vote of confidence’
The developments – a combination of floating, fixed and mixed turbines – are estimated to produce almost 25,000 megawatts of energy.
Simon Hodge, the chief executive of Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Today’s results are a fantastic vote of confidence in Scotland’s ability to transform our energy sector.
“Just a couple of months after hosting COP26, we’ve now taken a major step towards powering our future economy with renewable electricity.”