McArthur welcomes ScotWind licensing round announcement

Orkney's MSP, Liam McArthur, has welcomed the announcement of the ScotWind offshore wind licensing round by Crown Estate Scotland.  The auction has awarded option agreements to 17 offshore wind projects around the Scottish coast totalling almost 25GW, exceeding the expected outcome of 10GW.

The announcement comes after an earlier suspension of the process to allow for a change in the criteria, following fears that the auction would fall far short of the level of funds raised during a similar auction elsewhere in the UK.

A joint venture between Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG), TotalEnergies and RIDG has successfully secured rights to develop a 2GW offshore windfarm project 30 km off the west coast of Orkney.  This project, which aims to start producing renewable power by 2030, represents potentially more than £4 billion of investment.

The West of Orkney project will bring together a network of strategic local relationships including Orkney Harbour Authority and the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) unlocking a £140m initiative to support the development of the local supply chain.  Once built, the windfarm could also deliver renewable power to the Flotta Hydrogen Hub, a proposed large-scale green hydrogen production facility in Orkney.

Commenting, Mr McArthur said:

"Despite earlier delays, the ScotWind auction represents a major sea-change in realising Scotland's offshore wind potential and will be crucial to helping achieve our net-zero targets.

"Today’s announcement also underlines the importance of our islands in the delivery of these ambitions, building on a track record of being at the forefront of renewable energy innovation.

"After years of over-promising and under-delivering on green jobs, however, it is crucial that Scottish Ministers properly grasp this opportunity for job and wealth creation. We cannot afford any more false dawns.

"Ministers must spell out how funds raised will be invested within the local communities expected to support the various developments.  The SNP must resist their centralising instincts and ensure communities themselves are involved and, where appropriate, lead those investment decisions."

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