Energy boss: Wind farm contracts make Scotland world leader in floating turbines

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Scotland and the UK can become a leader in floating offshore wind farms, the boss of one of the biggest renewable energy producers in the UK has said.

ScottishPower chief executive Keith Anderson hailed the development of two new ground-breaking wind farms.

Instead of being attached to the seabed, they will float on the surface of the water – something that opens up many more square miles of sea to development.

The company was awarded the rights to develop the two floating wind farms, the first of their kind in the world, in a new round of awards from Crown Estate Scotland.

Contracts worth close to £700 million were awarded to 17 projects, of which ScottishPower is developing three.

Other companies with contracts include Shell, SSE and BP.

“What Scotland has done literally overnight is that it has made industrialisation and commercialisation of floating offshore wind a reality,” Mr Anderson told the PA news agency.

“So what has up until now been largely a prototype and R&D (research and development) exercise, the announcements today make it a reality.”

The UK has become one of the global leaders in offshore wind in recent decades, and now is taking the lead on floating turbines, the chief executive said.

“We now lead offshore floating wind. No one else is looking to do anything like this, so we become the world leader in the development of the technology,” he said.

“What that in turn means is that every company that wants to have a future in floating offshore wind … you need to get your backside to Scotland and start investing and getting involved in these projects.”

He said that the price of building floating wind turbines will rapidly be brought down, outpacing the massive cost reductions that regular offshore wind has shown in recent decades.

“What we need to do with floating now is to put all of our efforts and focus on massively driving down the cost of mass manufacture of floating foundations.

“If we’ve only got that one area to focus on, we can really pour all of the innovation into that one area and we can drive the cost down really quickly.”