SSE has announced it is taking full ownership of the offshore wind projects under development by Seagreen Wind Energy.
The £118 million transaction, subject to approval from Crown Estate Scotland, sees the company acquire the other half of shares in the offshore project from Fluor Ltd.
Located in waters in the outer Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay, the Seagreen projects have the potential to provide a significant contribution to Scotland’s renewable energy generation capacity. It will also help to meet Scotland and the UK’s ambitious renewable energy targets, SSE said.
Seagreen phase one, consisting of the “Alpha” and “Bravo” projects, is currently seeking amendments to the existing consent to take advantage of the advances in offshore wind turbine technology since the original consent was granted in 2014.
SSE says the new proposal would see fewer, larger, higher capacity wind turbines and the inclusion of monopiles as a foundation option.
A maximum of 120 turbines would be developed across the Alpha and Bravo areas with a potential capacity of approximately 1,500MW. It is believed this would provide enough energy for at least 670,000 homes.
The company added it “remains focused” on preparing the Seagreen phase one projects in readiness for the next UK contracts for difference auction.
In July 2018 energy minister Claire Perry announced the next auction will be open by May 2019, with subsequent auctions around every two years, and confirmed £557 million of budget will be available to fund projects.
Nearly 8GW of offshore wind has already been installed.
Martin Pibworth, SSE’s wholesale director, said: “The Seagreen acquisition aligns with SSE’s ambition to create value from owning, operating and developing clean energy assets and infrastructure.
“We are looking forward to taking full ownership of Seagreen as we progress through this critical phase towards the contracts for difference auction, expected in May 2019. SSE’s expertise in the development, construction and operation of offshore wind will be an asset to Seagreen, and we will review the ownership structure in due course.”
Since 2004 SSE has invested in several offshore wind projects including a 25 per cent share in Walney offshore windfarm and a 50 per cent share in Greater Gabbard offshore windfarm.
The company is currently leading the construction and operation of the Beatrice offshore windfarm in the outer Moray Firth (with a 40 per cent share), where 20 of the 84 turbines are installed, which SSE will also operate when construction completes in 2019.
Alongside Seagreen, the supplier is also actively developing projects at Dogger Bank (3.6GW, SSE share 50 per cent) and holds a development option at Arklow Bank in Ireland (520MW), bringing its total share of consented development pipeline to over 3.3GW.
SSE is also exploring opportunities to secure further seabed through The Crown Estate and Crown Estate Scotland leasing processes.