French oil giant Total has taken a 51 per cent stake in SSE Renewables’ £3bn Seagreen 1 wind farm, which was today greenlit for construction.
The 1 gigawatt wind farm, which will be located in the Firth of Forth, will be Scotland’s largest renewable energy project.
Once completed, it will provide enough electricity to power 1m homes and will offset 1.6m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
Total will make an upfront payment fo £70m for the stake, and said it had secured close to 70 per cent financing for the project.
The wind farm, which is estimated to be operational by 2023 at the latest, is expected to generate more than £1bn for the Scottish economy and will provide hundreds of jobs while under construction.
Kwasi Kwarteng, government minister for energy, said: “Seagreen 1 will create hundreds of jobs while powering millions of homes and helping to cut carbon dioxide emissions, highlighting the key role offshore wind will play in our journey to a net-zero carbon emissions UK economy.
“The UK has invested more in offshore wind than any other country, is home to the world’s largest wind farms, and already supplies 10 per cent of UK electricity demand – a figure we expect to double by the middle of the decade”.
The decision to go ahead with the project comes less than 24 hours after business secretary Alok Sharma blocked Vattenfall’s application to build an offshore wind farm at Thanet in Kent, citing risk to shipping.
The UK has committed to supplying 40 gigawatts of power through offshore wind by 2030, which would be greater than the country’s current total electricity demand.
SSE Renewables also confirmed it has completed and signed a contract with MHI Vestas Offshore Wind to provide the 10 megawatt turbines for the development.
Oil services firm Petrofac will design and install the subsea stations.
SSE Renewables’ managing director Jim Smith said: “Following the agreement with Total we are looking forward to delivering the Seagreen offshore wind farm which will contribute towards building a cleaner, more resilient economy.”
“Total builds up a strong position in the world’s largest offshore wind market, as it becomes a majority stakeholder in the Seagreen 1 project, one of the largest offshore wind farms in the UK North Sea.
This move represents a major change of scale for Total’s offshore wind activity in line with our strategy of profitable growth in renewables and low carbon electricity,” said Patrick Pouyanne, Total’s chief executive.