BP has underlined the value of windfarm acreage off Scotland after submitting a bid for licences which it said could unlock £10 billion investment in areas ranging from hydrogen fuel plants to shipyards.
The prediction comes amid strong interest in the ScotWind licensing round from other oil and gas giants including Equinor, which confirmed yesterday that it has made an application.
Royal Dutch Shell and ScottishPower submitted joint bids for licences on Friday, the deadline for applications.
With renewables heavyweight Orsted also in the running, the public declarations of interest made to date suggest the landmark ScotWind round is in line to be a huge success.
The round is the first offshore wind auction to cover acreage off Scotland for a decade.
When it was launched in June last year Crown Estate Scotland held out the prospect it could make a major contribution to the effort to meet the country’s net zero targets while supporting a green recovery.
The organisation said around 10 windfarms could be developed on the acreage concerned. It suggested this could pave the way to as much as £8 billion investment.
There has been disappointment in Scotland that windfarm developments off the country have not yet provided the boost to the supply chain and jobs on the scale expected.
BP claimed that success for the company in ScotWind would help to deliver the desired increase in windfarm capacity and much more.
It declared: “The bid seeks to go far beyond developing wind power and aims to accelerate Scotland’s entire energy transition – from producing clean power to using it in new industries.”
The company said a successful bid would bring multi-billion pound investments with partners into Scottish offshore wind projects and supporting infrastructure, including ports, harbours and shipyards. These would support development and maintenance work offshore.
BP also plans to invest in green hydrogen production and in significantly accelerating the expansion of Scotland’s electric vehicle charging network.
The company reckons it can help to make Scotland a global leader in the offshore wind industry, partly by utilising the expertise already available in the country.
Aberdeen will become the company’s offshore wind centre of excellence, supporting what it described as a growing portfolio of offshore wind interests across the world.
BP’s executive vice president for gas and low carbon, Dev Sanyal, said Scotland is a heartland for BP, which he reckons could harness the capabilities developed in the North Sea oil and gas business to play a big part in the development of renewables.
“The bid would build on Scotland’s deep experience in offshore oil and gas, equipping its workforce and supply chain with renewable capabilities, including creating apprenticeships, and supporting thousands of jobs,” noted Mr Sanyal.
He is confident the company could achieve the strong returns it targets from the investment planned in Scotland.
The company benefits from having interests across the value chain, extending from energy production to trading and on to the supply of fuel to consumers.
The company is working with Germany’s Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW), with which it made a successful bid for licences in the latest UK round in February.
BP and EnBW have agreed to support the £40m renewables hub Forth Ports is developing at Leith.
They plan to invest in a new skills capability accelerator developed by energy consultancy Xodus.
“The five-year, multi-million financial commitment includes creating entry-level energy transition roles, and the reskilling of hundreds of oil and gas workers, graduates and technicians with renewable sector capabilities,” said BP.
The company has formed a partnership to develop offshore wind energy in the US with Norway’s Equinor, which said yesterday that it has bid for floating windfarm acreage in the ScotWind round.
Equinor believes it is well-placed to help Scotland maximise the potential of floating windfarms.
These can be developed in waters that would be too deep for turbines fixed to the seabed. Equinor developed the world’s first large-scale floating windfarm off Scotland, in the form of the Hywind facility off Peterhead.
Equinor said it has a range of activities that are supporting the energy transition in Scotland. It is working with SSE on a project for a new low carbon power station at Peterhead.
SSE is bidding in ScotWind with Japanese industrial giant Marubeni and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners investment firm.