Developers Mainstream, Ocean Winds and ESB have secured offshore leases from the Scottish government that open the door to further gigascale floating wind arrays in the UK North Sea and takes the total number of projects moving forward from the country’s landmark ScotWind auction earlier this year to 27.6GW.

Confirmation of the acreage awards, covering a large swathe of the 751km2 NE1 zone east of Shetland Islands, will host three projects expected to generate 2.8GW of power once online later this decade.

The projects emerging out of this ‘clearing round’ are calculated to be set to generate initial supply chain investments of £1.2bn/GW of plant built, with developers paying immediate ‘option fees’ passed to the Scottish government for public spending and £4m/GW a year once the wind farms are operating.

“Three more ScotWind agreements is extremely positive news,” said Colin Maciver, head of offshore wind development for Crown Estate Scotland. “These projects will further boost delivery of clean offshore energy that is central to Scotland’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency, secure the UK’s energy supply, and generate billions of pounds of investment in Scotland.”

Mainstream – in the midst of a merger with Aker Offshore Wind – and Ocean Winds will lead a development consortium for the 1.8GW project that includes EDPR and Engie. The project, signing for via a deal worth £36m, has been dubbed Arven – a Norwegian word for ‘heritage’ to reference the Norse history of the Shetlands.

Sian Lloyd-Rees, Mainstream’s UK country manager, said: “Mainstream’s Scottish development experience and the Aker group’s decades long offshore heritage in the North Sea – we are ready to take a leading role in industrialising floating offshore wind.

“Supporting the UK government’s net zero ambitions, the wind farm is well placed to capitalise on Scotland’s offshore expertise and industry as we work with local partners to explore offtake opportunities.”

Ocean Winds won acreage separately for another 500MW as part of the Moray Offshore Renewable Power consortium with EDPR and Engie. Ocean wind UK country manager Adam Morrison stated: “We are excited to be advancing the development of commercial scale floating wind farms off Scotland and delivering significant new volumes of clean energy for the country to meet its energy transition objectives.

“We look forward to listening to the many stakeholders who will have an interest in these projects as we start the development process to realise the potential of these projects. Developing a robust route-to-market to underpin future investment will be an early focus.”

An ESB group overseen by ESB Asset Management was awarded acreage for a 500MW deepwater project.

Full seabed leases are granted once applicants have consents from key regulators, such as Marine Scotland, and have secured financing and a grid connection.

With the emphasis being placed on offshore wind’s role in an industrial revival in Scotland’s coastal construction infrastructure, Crown Estate Scotland required developers to outline supply chain commitments as part of their application.

Latest figures, for the total 20 ScotWind projects, now show initial capital spending plans of £28.8bn, translating into an average £1.4bn investment in Scotland for every project brought into production, and £1bn/GW of capacity built. Details of the 20 ScotWind developers can be found here.