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Wind farm auction delay frustrates developers

DeepWind offshore

Offshore wind developers ‘disappointed’

Offshore wind farm developers have expressed frustration after an auction for the next generation of turbines off the Scottish coast was put on pause.

An English and Welsh auction running at the same time has resulted in higher prices than expected.

Crown Estate Scotland, which leases the Scottish seabed, believes it could lose millions in potential revenue if it stuck to its auction price guidelines.

It is running a process known as Scotwind Leasing for 15 seabed areas that could be developed for offshore wind.

It told bidders on Thursday the process was being delayed in order to conduct a review.

Claire Mack

Claire Mack: ‘disappointed’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish Renewables chief executive Claire Mack said: “Developing an offshore wind farm does not begin and end with deploying turbines in the sea and our members have already invested many thousands of hours, and many millions of pounds, preparing to bid into the ScotWind Leasing process. 

“That process, which industry was first told would conclude in January 2020, is already 14 months overdue. Those companies will therefore be disappointed and intensely frustrated at this further delay, as well as at the possibility that the goalposts will be moved at such a late stage.”

RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn said:  “Offshore wind developers will be dismayed by this latest delay to ScotWind, coming just weeks after Crown Estate Scotland opened applications for new leases.

“Having spent over a year setting out the process for awarding these new leases and making clear to developers what is required from them, Crown Estate Scotland is now rewriting the rules at the eleventh hour. 

“Scotland has a unique opportunity to secure billions of pounds of investment in new renewable energy projects which will support thousands of jobs across the supply chain. Delays and U-turns are bad for investor confidence and for Scotland’s position as a world leader in offshore wind.”  

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