Crown Estate Scotland secures £262m from North Sea decarbonisation projects

Crown Estate Scotland secures £262m from North Sea decarbonisation projects

Crown Estate Scotland has secured £262 million in applicant fees from the first leasing round designed to enable offshore wind energy to directly supply offshore oil and gas platforms.

INTOG (Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas) leasing aims to attract investment in innovative offshore wind projects in Scottish waters, as well as help decarbonise North Sea operations.

The INTOG process allowed developers to apply for seabed rights to develop offshore wind projects that either reduce emissions from the North Sea oil and gas sector — by supplying renewable electricity directly to oil and gas infrastructure (TOG) — or consist of small-scale (IN) innovative projects of 100MW or less.

INTOG, which has been designed in response to demand from government and industry to help achieve the targets of the North Sea Transition Sector Deal through decarbonising North Sea oil and gas operations, will also further stimulate innovation in Scotland’s offshore wind sector, create additional supply chain opportunity, assist companies to enter the renewable energy market, and support net-zero ambitions.

The successful applicants have now been offered initial agreements — called exclusivity agreements — that, if they accept the offers and proceed to sign them, enable them to start offshore wind development work while the Marine Scotland’s planning process for the INTOG Sectoral Marine Plan (INTOG SMP) is completed.

If a successful proposed project is in the final INTOG SMP, an option agreement will be offered. Projects will then go through planning, consenting, and financing stages. Responsibility for these next steps does not sit with Crown Estate Scotland, and projects will only progress to a full seabed lease once all these various planning stages have been completed.

Colin Palmer, director of marine at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Today’s results for this very distinctive and targeted leasing round are extremely encouraging. INTOG provides a range of practical ways to support innovation, reduce North Sea carbon emissions, and encourage technical and commercial innovation in the offshore renewables market.

“In addition to delivering economic and environmental benefits, INTOG will generate funds for the Scottish Government, from initial fees when option agreements are signed, to ongoing rent payments when the projects are constructed and move to operation.

“There are still significant challenges that need to be addressed to ensure INTOG’s many opportunities are realised fully, but today marks a real step forward.”

Michael Matheson, net zero & energy secretary, said: “This milestone in the INTOG leasing round is the next step in realising another world leading opportunity for Scotland’s energy transition: helping both decarbonise our existing oil and gas operations while helping our offshore wind sector to expand, innovate and deliver on our ambition to be a renewables powerhouse.

“The announcement from Crown Estate Scotland not only indicates that the INTOG initiative will provide a significant contribution to the public purse but ensure the continuing growth and development of Scotland’s offshore expertise and wider supply chain, supporting a true just transition for our energy sector.”

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