The ScotWind licensing round was a hugely material vote of confidence in the future of the offshore energy sector in the UK. To secure the licences and the associated ten-year option to develop the various windfarms, the consortia committed close to £700 million in upfront fees.

This raises an interesting debate around how this unexpected and material windfall is used. The easy option is of course to use the money to fund existing priorities across Scotland. There will be plenty of deserving recipients, given the current strains across the nation. Another option is to use the money for enabling and accelerating the energy transition and to deliver the net zero agenda by 2045 or earlier.

While these alternatives are appealing, it is worthwhile considering if the proceeds from the current and future licensing rounds, as well as future licence rentals and other income, could establish a new sovereign wealth fund for Scotland to benefit both current and future generations.

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Many countries have already done so and have established highly successful models to use the returns from the various funds aimed at improving people’s lives and wellbeing. One of the most successful examples is the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund, which was established in 1990 to ensure the revenues from Norway’s oil and gas resources are managed in a responsible way and to benefit both current and future generations.

The c. £1 trillion (or £1,000 billion) Norwegian sovereign wealth fund now is the envy of governments across the world and is designed to shield the Norwegian economy from external shocks. Scotland now has a unique opportunity to learn from the Norwegian experience and follow a similar path. Although £700 million is relatively modest in comparison to the amount Norway has accumulated, Scotland has to start somewhere and should use this moment to create a legacy for the nation we can all be proud of.

Professor Paul de Leeuw is the director of the RGU Energy Transition Institute.