A consortium of TotalEnergies, Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) and Scottish developer RIDG has announced a bid for an offshore wind project in an area west of the Orkney Islands.
The consortium said the two-gigawatt proposal – named the West of Orkney Windfarm – has the potential to power more than two million homes and is currently being assessed by the Crown Estate Scotland as part of the ScotWind leasing round.
The bid is the culmination of five years of engagement between the consortium and stakeholders in Caithness and Orkney, which includes Memorandums of Understanding with Orkney Harbour Authority and Scrabster Harbour Trust to enhance port infrastructure and position the area to support offshore wind projects in the future.
An exclusive Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed with the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney (EMEC).
The consortium said it has undertaken extensive site investigations, including birds, marine mammals and near-shore geophysical surveys, and has finalised a grid connection agreement with National Grid that would enable the project to commence generation in 2029.
Edward Northam, Head of GIG Europe, said: “Scotland has been a pioneer in the deployment of renewable electricity – and now, through projects to be delivered via ScotWind, we believe it could play a role in showcasing a deep and economy wide energy transition.
“By working with local partners, we can ensure that we create sustainable, long-term jobs in Caithness and Orkney as part of this transition to a net zero economy.”
Julien Pouget, Senior Vice President Renewables at TotalEnergies, said: “TotalEnergies is delighted to participate in this tender alongside GIG and RIDG.
“We will provide our resources and expertise in offshore operations and maintenance to ensure the success of this project in close collaboration with the local community and industry which we aim to strengthen.
“Our participation in the tender is an illustration of our commitment to support Scotland in its energy transition towards its Net Zero target by 2045.
“If awarded, this project will contribute to our goal of reaching 100 GW of renewable generation capacity by 2030.”
RIDG director Mike Hay said: “RIDG first put the West of Orkney Windfarm on the map back in 2016; since then, we’ve been working closely with local stakeholders to ensure any project we bring forward delivers for the local economy.
“We were therefore delighted to submit our bid as part of a consortium designed specifically around this location, and particularly excited to do this with the support of so many local businesses, who will be vital for successful project delivery.”
Stephen Kerr, Project Director of the West of Orkney Windfarm, said: “While ScotWind has created the opportunity for a global industry to tap into Europe’s best wind resource, our consortium believes that success will be driven by targeted proposals built upon strong local relationships.
“We have designed our bid specifically around this location and brought together a unique combination of stakeholders to maximise the opportunities for the region.
“In particular, the upcoming round of offshore wind projects are a terrific opportunity for ports in Caithness and Orkney to win significant long-term contracts in the installation and operational phase of these major infrastructure schemes.
“Our agreements with Scrabster Harbour Trust and Orkney Harbour Authority will enable us to work together with a clear focus on long term delivery.
“Each port has its own specific capabilities and attributes, and on successful site award we have committed to fund collaborative design and supply studies and to invest where appropriate in improving each harbour’s infrastructure.
“We will apply a similar collaborative approach across the supply chain, working closely with Scottish and UK suppliers to deliver on climate targets and enhance local economies.”
Jim Buck, Harbourmaster for Orkney Harbour Authority, said: “As a location, Orkney offers a natural environment like no other, particularly Scapa Flow which is the second largest natural harbour in the world.
“Our masterplan embraces decarbonisation and a transition away from fossil fuels.
“It includes a range of infrastructure enhancements across key locations around the Orkney mainland, including a new deep-water facility in Scapa Flow, which will be crucial to us realising our ambition to deliver social and economic benefit from offshore wind energy.
“The West of Orkney Windfarm is ideally positioned to make significant use of these future facilities and this collaboration represents another key step on our journey to position Orkney as a base for innovation and a major contributor in delivering a carbon-free future for the islands.”
Scrabster Harbour Trust manager Sandy Mackie said: “Offshore wind is a once in a generation opportunity for Scrabster Harbour to capitalise on its capability as an operations and maintenance base for a new fleet of offshore wind farms – which could create sustainable long-term skilled local jobs for decades ahead.
“We continue to invest strategically in our port infrastructure – most recently in the Ola Pier and deepwater basin – and our longstanding engagement with the West of Orkney Windfarm gives us confidence to not only further think and plan strategically for the port, but also to engage more widely to explore how Scrabster and West Caithness can seize the wider economic, educational and social opportunity of offshore wind in Scotland.”