A CONSORTIUM comprising TotalEnergies, Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Scottish developer RIDG has announced a bid for an offshore wind project in an area west of the Orkney Islands.

The two-gigawatt proposal – which is being called the West of Orkney Windfarm – has the potential to power more than two million homes and is currently being assessed by the Crown Estate Scotland as part of the ScotWind leasing round.

The consortium said the bid is the culmination of five years of engagement between it and stakeholders in Caithness and Orkney, which includes Memorandums of Understanding with Orkney Harbour Authority and Scrabster Harbour Trust to enhance port infrastructure and position the area more competitively to support offshore wind projects in the future.

It said an exclusive Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed with the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney, formalising a long-standing relationship in technical innovation and environmental data collection, building on EMEC’s unique marine energy research and development facilities and capabilities.

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Stephen Kerr, project director of the West of Orkney Windfarm, said: “While ScotWind has created the opportunity for a global industry to tap into Europe’s best wind resource, our consortium believes that success will be driven by targeted proposals built upon strong local relationships.

"We have designed our bid specifically around this location and brought together a unique combination of stakeholders to maximise the opportunities for the region."

READ MORE: ScotWind bidders aim to create floating windfarm jobs

Jim Buck, harbourmaster for Orkney Harbour Authority, said: “As a location, Orkney offers a natural environment like no other, particularly Scapa Flow which is the second largest natural harbour in the world.”

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Neil Kermode, EMEC managing director, said: “EMEC has been working on innovative marine energy projects for the last 15 years helping to deliver £306 million of additional value to the UK economy.

"Our current portfolio now covers wave and tidal technologies, green hydrogen and floating wind, which all support the governments ambitions to reach net zero."

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Sandy Mackie, Scrabster Harbour Trust manager, said: “Offshore wind is a once in a generation opportunity for Scrabster Harbour to capitalise on its capability as an operations and maintenance base for a new fleet of offshore wind farms – which could create sustainable long-term skilled local jobs for decades ahead.

“We continue to invest strategically in our port infrastructure – most recently in the Ola Pier and deepwater basin – and our longstanding engagement with the West of Orkney Windfarm gives us confidence to not only further think and plan strategically for the port, but also to engage more widely to explore how Scrabster and West Caithness can seize the wider economic, educational and social opportunity of offshore wind in Scotland.”

The consortium has undertaken extensive site investigations, including birds, marine mammals and near-shore geophysical surveys, and has finalised a grid connection agreement with National Grid that will enable the project to commence generation in 2029.