Nicola Sturgeon declares Shetland wind power projects 'crucial' as agreements struck

New offshore wind power projects will be “crucial” as Scotland seeks to become “one of the net-zero capitals of Europe”, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The First Minister spoke out as seabed agreements were announced for three new developments in the waters around Shetland, which together are expected to generate some 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of electricity.

The three projects have all been offered option agreements as part of the Crown Estate’s ScotWind clearing process.

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Shetland has been judged as ideal for the development of wind farms and other green energy projects
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The deal was announced as the First Minister visited Aberdeen for an offshore wind supply chain summit with energy secretary Michael Matheson and oil industry tycoon Sir Ian Wood.

Ms Sturgeon stressed the role that offshore wind would have, saying the Scottish Government regarded the sector as providing “one of the most important economic and environmental opportunities we have”.

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She said: “It can reduce our carbon emissions, improve our energy security, and create tens of thousands of high-quality jobs.

“It will bring benefits for all of Scotland, but it will be especially important in the north east, and a crucial part in the transition from being the oil and gas capital of Europe, to being one of the net-zero capitals of Europe.”

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The First Minister continued: “The importance of accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources, including hydrogen, has been brought into sharp relief by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine and the cost of living crisis.

“In Scotland, nearly 100 per cent of our net electricity demand already comes from renewable sources and we are focused on reducing energy demand and accelerating the deployment of renewable energy.”

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Ms Sturgeon said the ScotWind programme, which will see parts of the seabed around Scotland leased for offshore wind, would “deliver a new era” for the industry.

She hailed the initiative, saying it represented “the world’s largest commercial round for floating offshore wind and breaks new ground in putting large-scale floating wind technology on the map at gigawatt scale”.

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The First Minister continued: “It will provide several billion pounds more in rental revenues once projects become operational, to be invested for the benefit of the people of Scotland.”

The three new developments that seabed agreements have been announced for should see £56 million raised for the Scottish Government in option fees, with further payments of £4m per GW per year also expected once they are up and running.

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While the announcement of seabed agreements is just the first stage in that process, Colin Palmer, the director of marine at Crown Estate Scotland, hailed the news as “a fantastic result for Shetland and for Scotland”.

He said: “These projects have significant potential to really boost Scotland’s progress towards its net-zero targets, including in relation to the opportunity around green hydrogen.

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“Taking these three into account, the 20 ScotWind projects now total up to 27.6GW with initial supply chain commitments indicating an average of £1.4 billion investment in Scotland per gigawatt of capacity built.

“This result is further proof that Scotland is leading globally on offshore wind, deploying new technology and exploiting the potential of hydrogen.”

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