THREE new offshore floating wind projects have been offered seabed agreements as part of Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind clearing process.

The ScotWind Leasing programme provides developers with the rights to construct and operate offshore windfarms on areas of seabed in Scottish waters, which Crown Estate says will generate billions of pounds of investment in the economy.

The clearing process saw an area off the east coast of Shetland become available to applicants who met the required standards but did not secure their chosen locations in the previous leasing process.

All three projects will also focus on the development of green hydrogen technology, which it is hoped will replace all the diesel and petrol used on Shetland by 2050.

According to Crown Estate Scotland a total of £56 million will be paid by the successful applicants in option fees and passed to the Scottish Government for public spending.

Once the projects begin generating energy it is expected they will pay £4m per gigawatt per year to the Scottish Government.

The initial supply chain commitments also indicate an average of £1.2 billion investment in Scotland per gigawatt of capacity built.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “ScotWind will deliver a new era in Scotland’s offshore wind industry, representing 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.

“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.

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“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.

She added: “In Scotland, nearly 100% 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.

“The Scottish Government sees offshore wind – and the hydrogen production which we hope will be enabled by offshore wind – as one of the most important economic and environmental opportunities we have.

“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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Colin Palmer, director of marine at Crown Estate Scotland, said the projects will significantly contribute towards Scotland’s journey to net-zero.

He said: “This is a fantastic result for Shetland and for Scotland. 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.

“Taking these three into account, the 20 ScotWind projects now total up to 27.6GW with initial supply chain commitments indicating an average of £1.4bn 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.”