Ørsted unveils £12 billion Scottish offshore wind investment plan

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 21/09/2021 Ørsted
Ørsted has unveiled plans to invest up to £12 billion directly with Scottish companies on developing and constructing offshore wind farms over the next ten years. It claims billions more to be spent with Scottish supply chain businesses once these wind farms become operational.
 
These proposals are contained in bids submitted to the Crown Estate Scotland through its ScotWind offshore wind leasing round and would provide more than 8.5GW of electricity if Ørsted's bids are successful.
 
The company has entered bids for a total of five projects, two floating wind only bids as part of its joint venture partnership with BlueFloat Energy and Falck Renewables and a further three as Ørsted alone which include a mix of fixed and floating wind technologies.
 
Martin Neubert, Chief Commercial Officer at Ørsted explains why Scotland is a key priority for the company: “We have recently set out our aspiration to become the world’s leading green energy major by 2030. Orsted has the largest development pipeline in the offshore wind industry and it’s our clear ambition to remain the global market leader in offshore wind.
 
“We committed to these ambitious plans for the ScotWind leasing round not only because Scotland can play a key role in achieving our aspiration but because we firmly believe our scale and experience in offshore wind puts us in a unique position to help Scotland transition to a low carbon economy as quickly as possible.
 
“By incorporating large-scale offshore wind generation alongside renewable hydrogen and green fuels to decarbonise hard-to abate sectors in heavy industry and transport, we will create a truly integrated decarbonisation solution delivering low-cost, renewable power. We believe our bids represent a significant contribution to achieving Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets and will underpin the country’s renewable energy economy for generations.”


In 2017, Ørsted completed a transformation, ceasing all investment in oil and gas and fully committing to renewable energy. Ørsted has constructed over 7 GW of offshore wind, including the world's first offshore wind farm in 1991, and currently has 27 offshore wind farms in operation across Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific. With a total of 12 complete offshore wind farms in the UK, Ørsted claims its sites are able to produce enough green electricity to power over 4.2 million homes a year. This is expected to rise to over 5.5 million homes when its current construction projects become operational.


Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK for Ørsted outlined the company's commitment to work with Scottish ports and suppliers to develop infrastructure and a supply chain that will enable Scotland to establish itself as a leading player in the global offshore wind market:

Duncan Clark commented: “Scotland undoubtedly has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world. The ScotWind leasing round is a pivotal moment for the development of the offshore wind sector in Scotland, capitalising on its superb offshore wind potential and world-leading offshore engineering and contracting capabilities, unlocking investment that will create jobs and opportunities for Scottish businesses for generations.
 
“Ørsted is the global leader in developing, constructing, and operating offshore wind farms. On the road to becoming the global leader we have gained deep experience in the unique skill-sets required for consenting and constructing offshore wind farms and have a proven track record of delivering on time and on budget. In building and equipping our teams in Scotland, we will use this experience to deliver large-scale projects into operation by 2030 in line with the Scottish Government’s target of 11GW of installed offshore wind by this date.
 
“Indeed, we’ve already started development works to ensure we hit the ground running - engaging with supply chain companies and with the offshore wind clusters. We’ve been extremely encouraged by the conversations we’ve had to date and see a range of opportunities to build the Scottish supply chain so Scottish businesses benefit from the step-change in offshore wind ambition that ScotWind will deliver and to ensure that Scotland's offshore wind industry will continue to develop and thrive for decades to come."

  
Ørsted plans to develop renewable hydrogen projects in Scotland using some of the electricity from the proposed offshore wind farms. Ørsted is already developing renewable hydrogen projects across Europe and in the UK which will help replace fossil fuels in the maritime, aviation, heavy road transport, refinery and steel sectors. The company is looking forward to helping Scotland benefit from an industry that by 2045 could be worth up to £25 billion a year to the Scottish economy.
  
Duncan Clark continues: “We have seen the positive, transformative impact of our offshore wind development in providing clean, cheap energy for homes and businesses all over the world; creating new jobs and skills that leave a lasting legacy in communities; and investing in local supply chains to help build their capabilities and open access to opportunities on our projects across the globe.
 
“For example, in Taiwan our team has been working closely with Taiwanese businesses and industry suppliers for a number of years to drive local supply chain development and provide support for these businesses to compete successfully in the offshore wind market. In 2018 Ørsted signed contracts with three new local suppliersCentury Wind Power (CWP) and Formosa Heavy Industries Corporation (FHI) and China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSBC) to provide pin piles for our Greater Changhua 1 & 2a Offshore Wind Farms.

“Each pin pile is nearly 4 metres in diameter, weighs approximately 400 tons and is around 80-90 metres long, equivalent to the height of a 30-storey building. Despite their size, the manufacturing tolerance is only a few millimetres, and so it can be quite a challenge for suppliers without any offshore wind manufacturing experience to achieve the technical requirements.

“We signed contracts with our local suppliers early to allow sufficient lead time for them to properly prepare to fabricate the pin piles. Ørsted also provided a package of support for these new market entrants, which was designed to shorten their learning curve, help them ramp up their high-level welding competence and adopt international offshore wind QHSE standards to lay a solid foundation for them to grow and compete for other offshore wind projects in the future.
 
“In the United Statesour 2.4 GW Mid Atlantic clusterhas been the catalyst for the construction of the first offshore wind manufacturing facility for monopiles in the country. Work began earlier this year on the 70-acre site in New Jersey which will create a significant long-term boost for the state’s economy, creating hundreds of jobs and positioning New Jersey as thesupply chain hub of the American offshore wind industry.
 
“Through our existing UK projects, Ørsted has helped establish Grimsby and the Humber area as a global leader in offshore wind and this success can be replicated in Scotland. As the offshore wind industry stands poised for the development of commercial scale floating offshore wind, Scottish businesses are strongly positioned to benefit and cement Scotland’s world leading position in this exciting new technology.”