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Energy majors submit bids for Scottish offshore wind leasing

20 July 2021

Several energy majors have submitted bids to build offshore wind projects off the coast of Scotland, the first round of seabed leasing in Scottish waters for over a decade. BP, Equinor, Orsted, Shell, and RWE are among those which submitted bids as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind Leasing that will grant property rights for new large-scale offshore wind project development, including floating wind for the first time.

Hywind Scotland (Photo: Michal Wachucik/Signal Film - Equinor ASA)
Hywind Scotland (Photo: Michal Wachucik/Signal Film - Equinor ASA)

The application window for developers to apply for the rights to build Scotland’s next generation of offshore wind farms officially closed on July 16. The leasing round is aimed at supporting the development of around 10 gigawatts of offshore capacity. Crown Estate Scotland will now begin the process of examining each application with the results of this round expected in early 2022.


BP submitted a joint bid with Germany’s EnBW which could support wind projects with 2.9 gigawatts of capacity, the company said. The plans represent a potential £10 billion ($14 billion) investment into Scottish offshore wind projects and supporting infrastructure, including ports, harbours and shipyards. BP added that it would also see investment in net zero industries, including green hydrogen production and significantly accelerating the expansion of Scotland’s EV charging network.

Dev Sanyal, BP’s Executive Vice President for Gas and Low Carbon, said: “Through our bid we aim to do far more than only develop offshore wind – we believe it can help fuel Scotland’s wider energy transition. We want to harness the clean power from Scotland’s offshore wind and use our capabilities as an integrated energy company to accelerate the country’s EV charging network, build its hydrogen offering and strengthen its supporting infrastructure, including ports and harbours. 
“This will all take the right skills and abilities. The bid would build on Scotland’s deep experience in offshore oil and gas, equipping its workforce and supply chain with renewable capabilities, including creating apprenticeships, and supporting thousands of jobs. All of this is aimed at helping generate community wealth and creating a just transition in which people and communities do not get left behind. 

Shell and ScottishPower

ScottishPower and Shell have joined forces to submit multiple proposals to develop the world’s first large-scale floating offshore windfarms in the north-east of Scotland. The companies said floating offshore wind – a technology that is poised to scale up – is suitable for use in deeper water zones, where fixed foundations aren’t feasible, making it ideal for Scottish waters. It will become an increasingly important part of the energy mix in the UK as more and more offshore wind power is brought on to the grid to meet Net Zero targets.

ScottishPower CEO, Keith Anderson, said: “Scotland is the windiest country in Europe and has the biggest and most experienced offshore sector. Bringing ScottishPower and Shell’s collective knowledge, experience and expertise together means we’re perfectly placed to lead the way in developing large-scale offshore floating windfarms and creating a new green industry with massive potential for exporting our skills and experience globally and helping the UK decarbonise its energy generation.

Shell UK Country Chair, David Bunch, added: “If our bid is successful, Shell and SPR are fully committed to working with Scottish communities and businesses to help develop supply chains and expertise which could make Scotland a world leader in floating wind. At Shell we continue to grow our capacity to generate, trade and supply cleaner power to our customers and to play our part in powering the UK to net zero.”


Equinor announced its own bid by saying the leasing round is a good strategic fit with its ambitions to continue to develop its North Sea offshore wind cluster and further deepen its presence across the UK. The company said that it has more than a decade of operating experience from floating offshore wind turbines having already deployed and produced electricity at Hywind, located off the northeast coast of Scotland.

“Equinor has the experience and capabilities necessary to develop the next full-scale floating offshore wind farm in Scotland following Hywind Scotland. By leveraging our offshore execution capabilities and our leading position in floating offshore wind, we are ready to create more long-term value and drive the industrialisation of floating offshore wind further. We see floating wind as an enabler for the Scottish Government to achieve its offshore wind targets and help reach its ambitious net zero target of 2045,” says Equinor’s senior vice president for business development in Renewables, Jens Økland.

Equinor’s offshore wind strategy is to create value through early access at scale and deepening in regional clusters. The company said as operator of Hywind Scotland located near Peterhead, it knows the potential that lies in developing offshore wind off the Scottish coast. Also at Peterhead, Equinor together with its partner, SSE Thermal, plans to jointly develop a new low-carbon power station, which could become one of the UK’s first power stations equipped with carbon capture technology.


Ørsted announced a bid in partnership with Falck Renewables and floating wind expert BlueFloat Energy. The consortium has applied for seabed leases in sites which lend themselves to the deployment of large-scale floating wind technology. Since pioneering the first ever offshore wind farm in 1991, Ørsted said it has developed and built more offshore wind projects than any other company in the world.

Martin Neubert, Chief Commercial Officer at Ørsted said: “We recently announced our strategic decision to pursue floating wind opportunities and to drive the commercialisation of this technology. Today’s announcement reaffirms Ørsted’s commitment to this exciting and rapidly developing new technology. Allying our strong in-house Development, EPC and O&M capabilities with partners that have unique hands-on experience in floating wind projects and a strong local presence in Scotland will enable us to deliver an exciting new proposition for Scotland.”


RWE announced its own bid by outlining its track record of successfully developing, building and operating offshore wind projects globally, including Scotland. RWE already has over 480 megawatts (MW) of installed renewable energy capacity across onshore wind, offshore wind and hydro sites in Scotland, with a current development pipeline of more than 350 MW.

RWE, which directly employs around 100 people in Scotland, said it has invested over £180 million into local businesses to date and is on track to contribute more than £15 million to communities, through the operation of its current projects.

Tom Glover, RWE UK Country Chair, said: “The ScotWind process is a critical step for Scottish Government delivering its ambitious target of 11 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. As a long standing partner and investor in the Scottish renewables industry, RWE is pleased to be able to support this through our  participation. Our company is a highly experienced, innovative and globally-recognised player in the offshore wind sector, and anticipates that success in ScotWind would unlock significant opportunities to re-energise the local supply chain, while helping create important, high quality, long term employment. We look forward to continuing as a trusted partner to Scotland in the delivery of its offshore ambitions.”

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