Wind farm misses deadline for electricity sale scheme

Energy giant SSE says a massive wind farm proposed for the east coast has missed a bidding deadline due to Scottish ministers not granting approval.

The deadline passed on Friday for submissions to a UK government scheme to sell electricity from the project into the National Grid, with the next round of bids not until 2025.

SSE is still awaiting a decision over the Berwick Bank project in the outer Firth of Forth, which could create more than 4,000 jobs.

The news came as the Scottish government gave the go-ahead for the world’s largest floating wind farm near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, which will primarily be used to power oil and gas platforms.

Green Volt bosses said the project would place Scotland "at the leading edge of a new floating wind sector".

Green Volt will provide 560MW of energy, while Berwick Bank would be one of the largest offshore wind developments in the world, generating up to 4.1GW of electricity - enough to power all of Scotland's homes twice over.

SSE Renewables had targeted Berwick Bank to be generating power by the end of the decade.

It is understood any further delay could impact the Scottish government's aim to build 11GW of new offshore wind by 2030.

Net Zero Secretary Mairi McAllan last week told the Scottish parliament that an interim target to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 had been dropped due to the goal being "out of reach".

The announcement resulted in the Scottish Greens clashing with the SNP, with the Greens to hold an extraordinary general meeting over the future of the power-sharing Bute House Agreement.


This is yet more criticism of the Scottish government's climate change commitments with the massive Berwick Bank project still unsure of its future.

They had been hoping to know by now whether they had consent from ministers who'd said they "aim" to make decisions on these large projects within 12 months. It's now been 17.

Consent times have become a huge issue for the industry. Another project - GreenVolt - submitted its application a month after Berwick Bank but it has now been given the go-ahead.

Making comparisons is difficult though. Berwick Bank is much larger and is in a more sensitive area of sea close to where RSPB Scotland previously took ministers to court over the impact of turbines on migrating birds.

What this is really about though is targets. Again. This time a pledge to build 11 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030. At 4.1GW, Berwick Bank makes up a huge chunk of that.

SSE isn't saying yet that they can't be generating by 2030, even with this latest hold-up. But it's leaving little room for manoeuvre.

The energy giant is now pushing for a decision by the summer, well ahead of the next opportunity to bid for a government contract in 2025


BBC Scotland News understands SSE is now pushing the Scottish government for a decision to be made by early summer, having first lodged plans for the development in December 2022.

A spokesperson said that a decision would let them begin "unlocking the potential economic opportunities of offshore wind in Scotland."

SSE said approval would let it also grow "the domestic supply chain" and deliver against both Scottish and UK offshore wind targets.

An estimated 4,650 jobs could be created if Berwick Bank goes ahead.

UK energy minister Andrew Bowie told the Times newspaper any further delays would “put at risk the goal to get to net zero by 2050”.

Six projects have been approved as part of the Innovation and Target Oil and Gas leasing round from Crown Estate Scotland.

This includes the Green Volt development, which will consist of up to 35 turbines generating half a gigawatt of electricity.

Any excess energy not consumed by offshore installations will be fed into the National Grid and it is hoped the project would be operational by 2029.

First minister Humza Yousaf said the news showed Scotland "is one of the best places in the world to develop offshore wind and its supply chain."

Aberdeen-based businessman Sir Ian Wood, who chairs the North Sea net zero transition firm ETZ, claimed the project "sends a huge signal" to investors that Scotland is a pioneer in offshore wind technologies.