All eyes were on Scotland this month as COP26 saw global leaders, the business community and enthusiastic campaigners come together to focus action on the climate crisis. For Scotland, key to delivering net zero is the large-scale deployment of offshore wind – a process being facilitated by the current ScotWind leasing round which will be decided in January.

ScotWind will see 10 GW of green energy installed over the next decade and provide crucial green economic recovery opportunities across the country. Scotwind will also be notable in delivering the move to floating wind, providing key sectoral opportunities for the transition of oil and gas skills and technology.

Edinburgh-based renewable energy developer, Red Rock Power Limited which can trace its involvement in the sector back to 2008, is one of participants awaiting the ScotWind results. The company has built up considerable experience in the wind sector and holds a 25 per cent share in the Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm in the Moray Firth; the origins of which was a demonstrator project to provide power to the Beatrice oil platforms and to prove the feasibility of a what was then by far the deepest offshore wind turbines installed anywhere. It also developed and continues to own 50 per cent of Inch Cape Offshore Wind Farm off the Angus coast, which once complete will power over a million homes.

Red Rock Power partnered with Italian energy company, Eni, in a new joint venture to bid in the ScotWind leasing round. The company’s New Leasing Round Manager, Philip Merson, said: “We wanted to work with an equally motivated partner to compliment our own expertise and strengthen our proposition.

“Through our work on Beatrice and Inch Cape, we have amassed considerable consenting and development experience and understanding of the specific challenges in the Scottish offshore wind sector. Combined with Eni’s oil and gas deep water construction and floating infrastructure experience, supported by Transmission Investment’s grid infrastructure expertise, we have created a unique blend of skills. We believe the partnership is a compelling offer for the ScotWind process.

“We want to merge our understanding of fixed bottom development with Eni’s understanding of working in far deeper waters, along with the technology and innovation that oil and gas has historically created for working in those environments.

“The partnership has focussed its efforts off the east coast and the potential to support the oil and gas transition. There are challenges on the west coast in terms of getting power to the grid - the east is more sheltered and we believe we can bring a unique wealth of experience from our involvement with Beatrice and Inch Cape.”

Jamie Grant, Red Rock Power’s Head of Asset Development, says the transferable experience and understanding of the environmental challenges will be invaluable.  “Our team in Edinburgh is ready to be deployed. This team has delivered consents for Inch Cape and has experience across the Scottish wind sector”, he adds. “We bring real delivery.”

Red Rock Power believes the award round will create a broader opportunity than its equivalent in England, where the results were dominated by a small number of bidders. Jamie said: “The leasing round in Scotland has been structured in a way that means there isn’t an exclusive focus on the value of a bid.

“What secures the best outcome for the nation and timely delivery of the 2030 carbon targets will hopefully be key to the decision process – the gigawatts should be taken as a given but capturing the added benefits will maximise the opportunity.”

He added: “Allocating leases to a wider number of bidders will disperse development risk and maximise Scotland’s economic opportunity. Whilst the scale of an individual wind farm is critical to economic viability, spreading 10 GW across a number of experienced offshore developers would provide the supply chain with a pipeline of projects to inform their capacity and investment planning, and provide a sequential opportunity for industry. It would also create greater competition and a drive for innovation, allowing for increased pace of deployment and helping to ensure we meet net zero targets on time.”

ScotWind’s legacy will be the global growth of the floating wind sector and the opportunity this creates for delivering wind energy in markets once thought unfeasible. Jamie said: “The UK’s shallow water depths has seen a unique level of offshore wind deployment and allowed fixed bottom foundation technology to reach a level of maturity. Now there is a huge opportunity for Scotland to drive floating wind innovation as we look to potential sites further offshore. As a company, we recognise this immense opportunity and are actively considering direct investment opportunities that would support supply chain growth and speed up deployment.

“Floating has the potential to open up other global markets to wind energy which wouldn’t have been possible with fixed bottom technology. If you want to deploy in places like California and the West of Ireland, you can’t do it on a fixed bottom basis because the water is simply too deep. If we can secure innovations in floating wind and successfully deliver this technology early in Scotland, our opportunity in this country can be a window to the world.”

ScotWind and the floating offshore wind projects it will create in the next decade will realise Scotland’s net zero ambitions and reinstate the country as the leader in global offshore wind.

Eni ready to bring new floating innovation to ScotWind

 

HeraldScotland:

The Red Rock Power-Eni partnership will harness the Italian energy company’s vast experience of successful development of ground-breaking floating offshore infrastructure. Eni is rapidly expanding its renewable portfolio, with a 20 per cent share of Doggerbank Wind Farm and a number of onshore wind and solar projects in Europe and around the world. Its experience as a global energy company and history of innovation specifically allows it a unique position to support the energy transition and transfer of oil and gas skills.

One example of Eni’s extensive track record of infrastructure innovation is the launch of the Coral Sul FLNG facility earlier this month. A giant floating integrated facility for liquefying and exporting gas – and a technological jewel – Coral Sul FLNG will be the first such development on the African continent and only the third in the world. The floating facility is 432 m long and 66 m wide, weighs about 220,000 tonnes overall and can accommodate 350 people in its eight floor Living Quarter module. It will be anchored in waters 2,000 meters deep offshore of Mozambique by means of 20 mooring lines weighing a combined 9,000 tonnes.

The multi-billion pound Coral Sul Project is the biggest investment ever sanctioned in South East Africa, with Standard Bank hailing it a “a transformational step for Mozambique and the Region.” Financed through loan facilities from a panel of export credit agencies and commercial banks, it has created valuable local economic growth opportunities and long-term benefits for Mozambique. The speed of delivery of the project has also been unique with the Final Investment Decision only taken in 2017. FLNG fabrication and construction activities started in 2018 and were completed within budget and on time, despite the pandemic. Eni looks forward to bringing this extensive floating offshore structure and financing expertise to bear on the Scottish offshore wind sector.

A key focus of the ScotWind partnership with Red Rock Power, and Eni’s commitments to expansion into the offshore wind sector, is supporting the oil and gas transition. The offshore wind sector is facing a skills shortage as it embarks on the rapid expansion required by the next generation of wind farm projects. Eni are developing an Energy Transition Programme with the University of Strathclyde to help Scotland’s oil and gas workforce transfer their skills to the Offshore Wind sector based on certification of experience, upskilling and re-skilling.