OIL giant Total has bought into a giant wind farm off Scotland in a deal worth up to £130 million.

The French company has agreed to acquire a majority stake in the Seagreen One windfarm off the Agnus coast from Scottish Hydroelectric owner SSE.

Seagreen is expected to come into operation late in 2022 and is in line to become the biggest wind farm off Scotland. Total noted it has been designed to cover the energy needs of around one million homes.

The company’s decision to buy into Seagreen reflects its belief in the commercial potential of wind farms.

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SSE gave the green light to the development yesterday after clinching the deal

Seagreen will benefit from subsidies provided for offshore renewables generators under the Contracts for Difference programme.

“This move represents a major change of scale for Total’s offshore wind activity in line with our strategy of profitable growth in renewables and low carbon electricity,” said Patrick Pouyanné, chairman and chief executive of Total.

The company has significant oil and gas operations in the North Sea

The Seagreen development will involve total investment of around £3 billion.

SSE negotiated the sale of a 51% stake in Seagreen to Total against the backdrop of extremely challenging market conditions.

The plunge in commodity prices triggered by the coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on the earnings of oil and gas companies. Demand for power has fallen.

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SSE chief executive Alistair Phillip-Davies said it was delighted to be partnering with Total to deliver a wind farm that would make a significant contribution to the UK’s green recovery from coronavirus. He reckons low carbon power from Seagreen could help the UK achieve its net zero ambition.

Investment in Seagreen could provide a boost for the North Sea supply chain.

However, the 114 turbines for the wind farm will be manufactured on the Isle of Wight by Denmark's MHI Vestas, which has been awarded a 15-year maintenance contract for them.

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SSE bought Fluor’s 50% stake in Seagreen in 2018 in a £118m deal, taking its holding to 100%.

Total has agreed to pay an initial £70m and a further £60mn subject to performance conditions.