FOREIGN governments including China and overseas firms with interests in Scotland’s offshore wind farm revolution are already enjoying more than £200m in annual profits, the Herald on Sunday can reveal.

Ministers have come under fire for failing to properly cash in on the seven farms that are operating and three major schemes that are 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 is concern that governments in China and the United Arab Emirates which have presided over human rights concerns are among the beneficiaries of Scotland’s green revolution.

In just their last full financial year, together offshore wind farms have made over £230m in profits.

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 include France, Norway, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland. The Scottish Government has no stake in any company reaping the green rewards, even though it is in the nation's waters that the farms are being constructed..

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

The Scottish Government is being criticised for its failure to set up a publicly-owned energy company saying it did not have the powers - while Wales is 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 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.

Fair energy prices campaigner Kenny MacAskill, the MP the for East Lothian and Alba Party deputy leader who has been keeping a close eye on offshore wind development said he was seriously concerned at Scotland's failure to have ownership of the offshore wind revolution but this was compounded by concerns that nations with serious human rights issues have some control.

HeraldScotland: Kenny MacAskill

"It's galling enough that state energy companies from the likes of France, Sweden and even Ireland have ownership of Scotland’s natural bounty. But what makes that even worse is that States with appalling human rights records whether China or the UAE also have our assets. There’s neither consideration for Scotland’s economic needs nor basic human rights in other lands.

"What should benefit our own folk in this energy crisis has been given to those who treat their own folk appallingly. This is a failure on all counts and to our own and other people."

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.

The 2019 opening of the Beatrice wind farm by Prince Charles now King Charles II

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.

The Government Of Abu Dhabi, the authority that governs what is one of the seven constituent monarchies which make up the United Arab Emirates has a major interest in Hywind, the world's first commercial wind farms using wind turbines operating off Peterhead.

It has control of Masdar Offshore Wind Scotland Ltd which has a 25% stake in the 30MW farm and claims to generate enough power for 20,000 homes.

The control comes through its Mubadala investment company which in 2019 managed over $225bn (£182bn) in assets, holding stakes in some of Abu Dhabi’s biggest companies as well key interests innglobal firms such as Spanish energy firm Cepsa and Austria’s OMV.

Hywind, which is 75% owned by Norway state government-controlled Equinor has generated profits totalling nearly £42m since it began operating in 2017.

Masdar has received dividends from Hywind totalling £9.5m between 2020 and 2022.

Amnesty International in its latest report card on Communist China say that the human rights situation across China had deteriorated with human rights lawyers and activists reporting harassment and intimidation, unfair trials, lengthy detention, torture and other ill-treatment for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Human rights groups and Western governments have accused Communist China of genocide in the Xinjiang region. China denies this, saying its network of detention camps there is for "re-education" of the Uyghurs and other Muslims.


Relations were strained over a crackdown on political freedoms and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, while there are continuing concerns for tennis player Peng Shuai, who disappeared from public view after she accused a top Chinese government official of sexual assault. Although the Chinese authorities have criticised "malicious speculation" over her case, there remains significant concern about her.

It has been accused of having one of the world’s most restrictive media environments, relying on censorship to control information in the news, online, and on social media.

According to human rights organisations, the government of the UAE violates a number of fundamental human rights.

Amnesty International in its last analysis said UAE state continued to commit serious human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees, suppression of freedom of expression, and violation of the right to privacy.

It said UAE continued to deprive stateless individuals of the right to nationality, impacting their access to a range of services. Courts passed death sentences and executions were reported.

Human Rights Watch in its latest 2021 analysis UAE blocked representatives of international human rights organizations and UN experts from conducting in-country research and visiting prisons and detention facilities.

One leading environmental campaigner said that the level of foreign involvement in Scotland's offshore wind farms was "astonishing" and added:"While there are concerns about the proliferation of huge turbines across our most valued landscape, it is unbelievable that it appears that the likes of the Chinese government are reaping the rewards and yet Scotland is not.

The biggest operating offshore wind farm, Moray East, which came online last year is controlled by a combination of private companies based in Spain, Holland and Japan. It made an £87.1m in profit in 2021.

The first commercial offshore wind farms in Scottish waters, Robin Rigg which came online in April 2010 said to generate enough power for 117,000 homes is ultimately owned by RWE AG, the German multinational energy giant headquartered in Essen. Robin Rigg East and West has generated a total of £40m in profits in 2020 and 2021 - but has distributed dividends totalling £140m.

Last Tuesday, police carried Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and other protesters away from the edge of an RWE-operated open coal pit mine where they demonstrated against the ongoing destruction of a village to make way for the mine’s expansion.


Ms Thunberg was among hundreds of people who resumed anti-mining protests at multiple locations in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia a day after the last two climate activists holed up in a tunnel beneath the village of Luetzerath left the site.

The German government reached a deal with RWE last year allowing it to 'destroy' the village to allow for the expansion of a coal mine in return for ending coal use by 2030, rather than 2038. Both argue the coal is needed to ensure Germany’s energy security that’s squeezed by the cut in supply of Russian gas due to the war in Ukraine.

But environmentalists say bulldozing Luetzerath will result in vast greenhouse gas emissions. Germany is expected to miss its ambitious climate targets for the second year in a row.

The smaller Aberdeen offshore wind farm currently in operation which has generated £35.4m in profits in its last three full years with 96.8MW capacity with power to supply 80,000 homes is ultimately controlled by Swedish state-owned energy firm Vattenfall AB.

The controllers of the 450MW Neart na Gaoithe offshore wind farm off the east coast of Scotland which is scheduled for completion in 2024 is shared between two state-owned energy companies, EDF in France and ESB in the Republic of Ireland.

A publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company was the centrepiece of Ms Sturgeon’s main speech to the SNP conference in 2017.

She said it would be set up before the 2021 Holyrood election so that consumers would pay “as close to cost price as possible”.

She said the idea behind it was “simple”, with the state-owned company acting as a selfless middle-man between energy wholesalers and customers.

But after spending £500,000 on consultants and an outline business case, it was finally killed off in 2021.

Social justice secretary Shona Robinson said in September that the project had been “very, very challenging to do under devolution”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan, published earlier this month, sets out a very clear vision, alongside a range of updated policy positions, with which to capitalise on the enormous opportunities that a net zero energy system offers our economy and our climate. A key proposal of the draft Strategy is to maximise household, business and community benefit from energy projects, including through shared ownership of renewables.

“Energy is a reserved issue with many of key policy levers currently the responsibility of the UK Government. We are clear that only through having full powers in relation to energy generation and borrowing would any country be able to consider large-scale public sector involvement in or ownership of energy generation, on a scale that would truly deliver a fair and just transition to net zero.

“Scottish Government officials are reviewing the proposals under development by the Welsh Government. At the present time, we understand their proposal is for investment in renewables developments on government-owned land.”