World's biggest floating wind farm given go-ahead in North Sea

The Green Volt wind project is set to include up to 35 floating turbines.

The world’s biggest floating wind farm has been given the go-ahead off Scotland’s coast.

Aberdeen-based Flotation Energy and Vargronn announced their joint Green Volt project has been granted offshore planning approval to deliver the first commercial-scale offshore wind farm in Europe.

The wind project, off the coast of Peterhead in the North Sea, is set to include up to 35 floating turbines, with capacity to provide 560 MW of renewable energy capacity.

The world’s current biggest floating wind farm, Hywind Tampen off of Norway, uses just 11 turbines.

Green Volt is the first project in the Crown Estate Scotland’s Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing round to be granted consent.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said the announced was “great news” and would help secure Scotland’s place at the forefront of floating wind technology.

“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,” he said.

“Ahead of the Allocation Round 6 (AR6) application window closing, the relevant consents and marine licences were issued for two floating offshore wind projects as well as one wave and three tidal energy projects, allowing all of them to go forward.”

It comes after the Scottish Government abandoned its “world-leading” target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2030.

The news, which was leaked to the media on Wednesday night, was confirmed by the wellbeing economy, energy and net zero secretary during a statement to Holyrood on Thursday.

Màiri McAllan said she was “disappointed” to announce the decision but said Scotland would remain a “world leader” in climate change action.

Ministers have missed eight of the last 12 legally-binding goals to reduce emissions and last month the independent Climate Change Committee said Scotland’s 2030 target was no longer credible.

But Yousaf said the target of reaching of net zero carbon emissions by 2045 will remain.

Nicol Stephen, CEO at Flotation Energy, 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.

“Green Volt is of international significance, placing Scotland at the leading edge of a new floating wind sector.

“This multi-billion pound development can now move forward confidently, creating hundreds of local jobs and proving that the UK and Scottish supply chain is ready to deliver commercial scale floating projects, at pace.”

Olav Hetland, CEO at Vargronn, said Green Volt’s 560 MW size was an “essential” stepping stone from current small-scale projects to gigawatt-size developments.

“By being a frontrunner, Scotland is now positioned to be home to world-leading expertise and a whole industry of new jobs. Green Volt will deploy pioneering technology at an unprecedented scale, advancing what is possible in renewable energy.”

Sir Ian Wood, chair of ETZ Ltd, said: “The awarding of consent for the Green Volt INTOG project is a massive boost for Scotland’s ambition to be a global leader in floating offshore wind.

“This decision will unlock around £3bn of investment, generate hundreds of jobs and will effectively result in Europe’s first commercial scale floating wind development.

“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.

“I pay tribute to the Scottish Government and its agencies for taking this welcome decision which follows the opening of the world’s first Floating Wind Innovation Centre in Aberdeen by the First Minister last month.

“With one of the largest concentrations of subsea engineering capabilities anywhere in the world and the largest cluster of energy supply chain companies anywhere in the UK, there truly is no better location than the North East of Scotland to invest in low carbon technologies.”

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