Boost for Scots renewable sector as energy giant EDP unveils £13bn investment in UK

Energy giant EDP, through its EDP Renewables unit, which is involved in Scotland’s largest wind farm, is to invest about £660 million in onshore wind and solar in the UK over the next five years.

The sum is part of a £12.86 billion investment EDP is making in the UK via the division in the coming years. It said the major investment complements that already made by Ocean Winds, the joint venture owned 50/50 by EDPR and Engie dedicated to offshore wind, in the Moray East and Moray West projects, amounting to £2.65bn.

EDPR said it has been present in the UK for more than ten years, and has a minimum target of 3.9 gigawatts (GW) in the ScotWind leasing round, between a fixed project and a floating one, and equal to capital expenditure of up to £10bn. The firm expects a major jump in UK headcount if it secures relevant bids.

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'We will explore any further opportunities that allow us to continue to play a leading role in the UK’s energy transition,' the group says. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Miguel Stilwell d’Andrade, chief executive of EDP and EDPR, said: “These plans to invest up to £13bn by 2030 underscore our commitment to the United Kingdom – a strategic market for the growth of the group.

"We have an established position in the offshore market, now complemented by our entry into onshore, and we will explore any further opportunities that allow us to continue to play a leading role in the UK’s energy transition.”

The news comes after EDPR in July announced the acquisition of two renewable energy portfolios, both wind and solar, with a forecast capacity of 544 megawatts (MW).

It said the deal “strengthens the company’s presence in the UK, by diversifying and complementing its already established offshore operations”, where it currently has 1 gigawatt of gross capacity under construction and 0.9 GW under development, via Ocean Winds.

The group now plans to invest close to £660m in expanding this business over the next five years, and it is actively seeking relevant opportunities, with 200 MW of wind projects currently being negotiated with local partners.

As for offshore activity, EDP Group is active in two projects through Ocean Winds: the recently built Moray East, and Moray West, which is at an advanced stage of development.

It said Moray East, with a capacity of 950 MW and 100 turbines, is Scotland’s largest wind farm. The last turbine was recently installed, and operations are expected to start in April. EDPR became the sole operator in 2010.

It added that Moray West is a project of approximately 900 MW that will be the focus of a bid during the next Contract for Difference (CfD) round, scheduled for early 2022. The project is in the supply chain contract negotiation phase and Ocean Winds has secured a preferential bidding agreement with a turbine supplier.

Construction is scheduled to start next year, and once completed, it is expected to require a further £2.2bn over the following three to four years.

Ocean Winds is also waiting to learn of the result of ScotWind, the offshore leasing round in Scottish waters, where it has submitted bids for up to 9GW of capacity for both fixed and floating projects.

EDPR also noted that it has 150 people in the UK, with most focused on developing offshore projects, and it aims to expand its team on site dedicated to the onshore business.

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