The Japanese and Italian governments stand to gain millons from a profitable stake in plans for what has been touted as the world's largest floating windfarm in Scotland hailed by the outgoing First Minister as a project to "cement" the nation's reputation as a "global leader in floating wind technology".

The Herald on Sunday can reveal that the nation stands to lose out on profits every year to foreign interests from Green Volt which has been approved off the Aberdeenshire coast.

The approval was the first consent for Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round, and it was to trigger up to £3bn in investment, according to north-east energy tycoon Sir Ian Wood, who hailed the decision as a ‘massive boost’ for the region.

Green Volt, which will be Europe's first commercial scale floating windfarm is 50-50 joint venture between Flotation Energy and Vargronn.

But while Flotation Energy was presented as a company headquartered in Scotland with 'roots firmly in the North East', the Herald can reveal the ultimate parent company pulling the strings is Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, an energy company that is owned by the Government of Japan.

Meanwhile, Norway-based Vårgrønn, is a venture between Italian supermajor oil firm Eni's power and renewables offshoot Plenitude and Norwegian investment firm HitecVision. Eni is 30.33% owned by the Italian government.

The Herald:

The Scottish Government has no stake in any company reaping the Green Volt profit rewards even though it is in the nation's waters that the farms are being constructed.

It has led to concerns that ministers have not learnt the lessons of the ScotWind round of 17 offshore wind projects hailed by the First Minister as a "truly historic" opportunity for Scotland's net zero economy.

A failure to create a state-owned energy company which could have sold the new ScotWind electricity to the grid and retained operating profits, led to concerns that the nation would lose between £3.5 billion and £5.5 billion every year - about a tenth of the current Scottish budget from the developments.

It comes after it was revealed that Scotland plc has made a wealth loss of £250bn since devolution - leading to new calls for a radical rethink over how the nation over-relies on foreign investment.

The nation's big wealth extraction crisis equates to around £50,000 per Scot over a 22 year period since the Scottish Parliament was formed in May, 1999.

The level of wealth exports in Scotland is being compared to that of developing nations. The level of wealth losses in Scotland is being compared to that of developing nations with concerns that the nation is being "massively exploited" by overseas interests.

Amanda Burgauer, director of the respected think tank Common Weal, which has been tracking the nation's financial performance said: "The Scottish Government keeps boasting about the strength of our renewable sector, while they keep giving it away.

The Herald:

"When it is owned overseas Scotland’s wealth gets exported to the ultimate shareholders. If we give 30 year licenses, we give away 30 years of your wealth in one go. Unless we keep this wealth somewhere in the Scottish economy we just keep undermining ourselves.”

Concerns have previously been expressed that foreign governments including China and overseas firms have key interests in Scotland’s offshore wind farm revolution.

Ministers have come under fire for failing to properly cash in on the seven farms that were operating and three major schemes that were in advanced stages of development which together according to energy firms will have 5GW of installed capacity - enough to power double the 2.7m homes in Scotland.

There has been concern that governments in China and the United Arab Emirates which have a key interest in the projects presided over human rights concerns are among the beneficiaries of Scotland’s green revolution.

At that point in the last full financial year, together offshore wind farms made over £230m in profits.

READ MORE: ScotWind: We can still grab billion-pound benefits of wind

READ MORE: The ‘myth’ of Scotland's green jobs revolution as key wind tower firm CS Wind goes bust

The “astonishing” array of state government-controlled firms that are making millions from having a key stake in Scotland’s collection of offshore wind farms also included France, Norway, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland.

Controlling interests are also being held by privately-owned energy firms in Germany, Spain, Holland and Japan.

The Scottish Government has been criticised for its failure to set up a publicly-owned energy company saying it did not have the powers - while Wales has been developing a similar plan.

Campaigners have long called for the establishment of a state-owned company which would have owned energy resources, to provide secure, reliable and low-cost retail energy to households and to ensure there were renewable energy supply chain and manufacturing jobs for Scotland.

It is felt by some that the failure to create a state-owned energy company has meant that the nation has lost its grip of the profits of Scotland's green revolution.

The Herald:

The Scottish Government believes that offshore wind farms will help complete Scotland's journey to net zero, creating thousands of jobs in the process and that it has the potential to position the nation as a major exporter of renewable energy, including green hydrogen.

Outgoing First Minister Humza Yousaf said that the approval of the project by the Scottish Government "was a "significant milestone which will help secure Scotland’s place at the forefront of floating wind technology".

He said: "Scotland is one of the best places in the world to develop offshore wind and its supply chain, and we are determined to maximise the huge economic opportunity offshore wind can bring.”

Energy tycoon Sir Ian Wood said that the approval by the Scottish Government of the Green Volt project would trigger up to £3 billion in investment, according to north-east energy tycoon Sir Ian Wood.

The billionaire businessman also said the project will create hundreds of jobs and "effectively result in Europe's first commercial scale floating wind development".

The windfarm located off of Aberdeenshire’s east coast near Peterhead will have up to 35 turbines at a power of 560 MW.

The project has been described as being an “essential stepping stone” from current small-scale projects to gigawatt-size developments.

“Crucially, it also sends a huge signal to domestic and international investors that Scotland is indeed a pioneer in this technology and the ideal location to manufacture and deliver floating wind developments," he said.

When the green light was given to the project, Flotation Energy chief executive Lord Nicol Stephen said: “It is fantastic to have received the green light to deliver the world’s biggest floating offshore wind project right here in the Scottish North Sea.

“This major milestone places Flotation Energy and our joint venture partner, Vargronn, firmly at the heart of the energy transition.

“Flotation Energy is headquartered in Scotland with its roots firmly in Aberdeen and the north-east."

The Chinese government has a key interest in two of Scotlands offshore wind farms, including the second biggest of Scotland's fully operational offshore wind farms - the 84-turbine Beatrice wind farm off the Caithness coast which began operations three years ago.

Through its State-Owned Assets Supervision And Administration Commission Of China company it control of Beatrice Wind Limited (BWL) which holds a 25% stake in the farm which made has made total profits of nearly £200m over the last three years.

BWL received dividends totalling nearly £60m between 2020 and 2022 through its shareholding. A dividend is a payment a company can make to shareholders if it has made a profit.

It also has control of Red Rock Power Limited, which has joint ownership of the 72-turbine Inch Cape wind farm that is being constructed off the Angus coast with the Republic of Ireland government-controlled energy firm ESB. Once complete it will provide power for over 1.7m households and was expected to be one of the country’s largest single sources of renewable energy.

Inch Cape, despite not being operational, still managed a £2.93m profit in 2021.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “ScotWind and INTOG are set to deliver over £950 million paid or pledged by developers in revenues for the public purse just from the initial awards alone. These programme promises to deliver billions more in rental revenues once projects become operational, to be invested for the benefit of the people of Scotland, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

“We are investing these revenues in our journey to net zero, and the Scottish Budget sets out the multi-million pound investment in 24/25 to ensure the Scottish workforce, businesses and communities all benefit from the offshore renewables revolution.

“The type of high-quality investment we are seeing across our burgeoning renewables sector is supporting our domestic supply chains, improving productivity, and providing thousands of well-paid, skilled jobs.

“The Scottish Government has also set out plans for a dedicated Building a New Scotland Fund to invest up to £20 billion over the first decade of an independent Scotland, to ensure everyone can benefit from this country’s natural wealth, and lay the foundations for a fair, green and growing economy.”

Flotation Energy was approached for comment.

Green Volt has said it is currently seeking ways to maximise UK participation in the project, which "promises to be the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm by 2029".

"We have already started supply chain engagement in Scotland and will build on this substantially throughout 2022 and 2023," developers said.

The say it will be the "first commercial scale floating offshore windfarm in Europe".  

The "pioneering" project "will deliver electrification and decarbonisation of oil and gas platforms and deliver power to the UK grid, benefitting UK consumers and industry".