A COMMITMENT by three offshore wind developers to work more closely with stakeholders in Shetland has been welcomed locally.
It was the first visit by Ocean Winds, Mainstream Renewable Power (Mainstream) and ESB Asset Development last week (7-8 December), since they were announced as being successful in securing seabed leases for offshore wind development in the ScotWind NE1 site.
The three projects planned for the site, which is 12 miles east of Bressay, are expected to have a combined capacity of 2.8GW of electricity over an area of 560km2. The projects are part of 17 others in Scotland that make up the 27.6GW awarded through Crown Estate’s ScotWind leasing round earlier this year.
Through Shetland Islands Council (SIC) and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the developers were invited to visit Shetland together to engage with key stakeholders including Lerwick Port Authority, local supply chain companies and the fishing industry.
The visit provided an opportunity for them to view Shetland’s existing port and energy infrastructure and supply chain capabilities. They also heard in more detail how the island is coordinating its efforts to support large-scale energy projects.
The developers provided an overview of their projects and the long-term development timetable and committed to regular engagement with key local stakeholders.
Katrina Wiseman, area manager at HIE in Shetland, said: “The announcement of the NE1 sites leasing was an important step towards supporting Shetland’s energy transition and we were pleased that representatives from all three developers agreed to visit Shetland together.
“During their visit they actively engaged with a range of key stakeholders and were presented with Shetland’s track record and strong capability to support large-scale energy projects. We also expect any developer to work closely with key industries such as fishing to mitigate any potential impacts. We are pleased to have obtained an early commitment to meet on a regular basis and start to build relationships.”
Ewan Walker, project director for the Arven Offshore Wind Farm, Mainstream and Ocean Winds’ joint project, said: “Working with Shetland’s stakeholders and other offshore developers will be essential throughout the lifetime of this project. It will likely be at least a decade until the project is operational and we will work closely with the local supply chain to explore opportunities over the coming years as we progress the project.
“We are also committed to being a good neighbour to existing industries and, following a constructive initial meeting with commercial fishing representatives, we look forward to continued open engagement to mitigate potential impacts of our activities.”
Paul McElvanna, offshore wind project director at ESB, said: “ESB is delighted to have this opportunity to meet in person with our stakeholders in Shetland, and we look forward to continued engagement in the years ahead as our development plans take shape. We will work constructively with other marine users throughout the lifecycle of the project to minimise any potential disruption.”