The ScotWind Auction and What It Says About The Future

ScotWind Auction illustration

Offshore wind will play a crucial role in delivering the UK’s net zero targets and a significant amount of that target will be delivered through floating offshore wind. The results of the ScotWind auction earlier this week sends an extremely positive signal to the whole offshore wind sector and technology developers such as Marine Power Systems.

Crown Estate Scotland have just awarded rights for offshore wind development on a massive scale. This represents the first time this has happened for a decade and, whilst the current capacity of offshore wind in Scottish waters is already currently around 2GW, this auction will bring a further 25GW of offshore wind to Scottish waters. This is significantly more than the 10GW the government anticipated, and the 17 successful projects will bring around £700m to the public purse. Not only will the auction result support electrification of the Scottish economy and progress towards net zero but early indications are that this will help deliver a multi-billion-pound supply chain investment in Scotland.

The 17 projects will cover an area of 7,000km2 of seabed | Source : CES/BBC

This represents one of the biggest auctions of its kind in the world and it strengthens the UK’s position as a leader in offshore wind. It also underlines the commitment and ambition for the future of UK offshore wind, and it will bring significant real-world momentum to the sector.  Importantly for Marine Power Systems, around 15GW of the 25GW of capacity development will be delivered through floating offshore wind. This will support commercial projects of significant size and deliver economies of scale and further industrialisation of the technology. It represents a huge vote of confidence in the sector as a whole, drives ongoing investment in it and validates our direction of travel.

This will provide a catalyst for the development of more industrial scale floating offshore wind farms and a rapidly developing global market, which is forecast to be a multi-billion-pound per annum industry by 2030 alone. Marine Power Systems is in a prime position to take advantage of this opportunity and we are already engaged with these farm developers with the aim to deploy our floating platform and ocean energy generation technology into the industrial scale projects that will arise.

“The sector will now quickly shift its focus towards how to effectively deliver this capacity. Alignment across stakeholders; supply chain, communities, regulators, government bodies and developers, will be critical for success”, comments Martin Carruth, Commercial Director at Marine Power Systems, “It is being recognised that a distributed logistics model is critical to deploy industrial scale projects like these and we believe that our shallow draft floating platform and ability to access a wide range of ports and multiple launch options will be a key competitive advantage, both helping to achieve local content delivery and accelerate farm deployment.”

Governments around the world face similar challenges and need to meet their own net zero targets, so what we are seeing in Scotland will undoubtedly be replicated globally. Whilst offshore winds in shallow waters can be harnessed by fixed bottom wind turbines the resource in deep water remains largely unharnessed and represents around 80% of the exploitable energy resources of our oceans. The Scottish auction is now turning that opportunity into a reality. This creates a platform from which technology developers can exploit what is a huge and global opportunity. Those who can bring optimised solutions that deliver cost benefits across the entire product lifecycle have exactly the kind of proposition that energy developers and those who invest in them are looking for.

The result of the ScotWind auction is truly confidence inspiring and, whilst there is still lots of work to do, in many respects this represents just the beginning of what is yet to come. The global opportunity is huge, and it further underlines why we are so committed to our mission to unlock the power of oceans.