TotalEnergies has become the latest international energy major to position itself for a slice of the action in Scotland’s upcoming offshore wind leasing round with plans to join a consortium bidding into one of the most eagerly awaited tenders globally in the sector.

The French oil and gas giant will join an existing alliance between Green Investment Group (GIG) and local developer Renewable Infrastructure Development Group (RIDG) to bid into ScotWind, which will award new seabed acreage designed to spur up to 10 gigawatts of development off the UK.

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The leasing round, which closes for applications on 16 July, represents one of the biggest opportunities currently available in global offshore wind, offering sites with potential for both fixed-foundation and floating projects, although the trio gave no details of the projects envisaged if they were to be successful with their consortium, called Offshore Wind Power Ltd (OWPL).

TotalEnergies — which late last month changed name from Total — is already active in Scottish offshore wind via its majority ownership of the 1.1GW Seagreen 1 project that it bought into operation in 2020, and the three consortium partners also stressed the potential benefits of leveraging expertise and resources from its offshore oil and gas operations in the North Sea off Scotland.

'Bringing expertise'

Jean-Luc Guiziou, managing director of TotalEnergies E&P UK, said: This consortium builds on a unique blend of skills and expertise required to safely deliver a competitive project. As one of the largest operators in the UK energy industry, TotalEnergies will bring its extensive expertise in offshore project delivery, operations and maintenance.”

The partnership reunites TotalEnergies and Macquarie-owned GIG a few months after their successful bid in the Round 4 leasing process run by the UK Crown Estate for 1.5GW of new seabed rights off England and Wales.

TotalEnergies and GIG are also teaming-up on a 2GW portfolio of planned floating wind projects off South Korea. The third member of the trio, RIDG, was set up in 2017 as a specialist local developer to maximise opportunities in the Scottish offshore wind sector.

'Track record'

Ed Northam, Head of GIG Europe, said: “The addition of TotalEnergies to our bidding consortium brings together a team who have a long track record in delivering major infrastructure projects in challenging environments — a key requirement given the growing scale and complexity of the next generation of fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind farm projects.”

ScotWind offers the potential to sell power into the Scottish grid or to corporate renewable energy buyers, while oil and gas players are also known to be looking at the potential for tapping wind power to help decarbonise their existing fossil operations.

The TotalEnergies/GIG/RIDG team will compete in ScotWind with a line-up that includes a who’s-who of the global energy sector’s developer community, and a number of pioneering start-ups alike.

They include global offshore wind number-one Orsted, oil giant BP, utility SSE and EDPR-Engie joint venture Ocean Winds, as well as emerging players such as Simply Blue Energy and Magnora keen to plant their flags in the floating wind sector.

Offshore wind has emerged as a key element of TotalEnergies’ plans to become a “green energy major”, with a 100GW gross capacity goal by 2030 that is among the most ambitious globally.

As well as its UK Round 4 and Korean venture with Macquarie, the French group is involved in major floating wind plans off Wales, is entering the contest to build Denmark’s largest offshore wind farm, and took a large stake in one of Taiwan’s biggest projects.

The global offshore wind market is set to mushroom from 35GW to over 250GW by the end of the decade driven by some $810 billion in new projects, many being spurred by the growing shift in capital spending by international oil & gas operators, according to latest forecasts from Rystad Energy.

(This article first appeared in Upstream's sister renewable energy publication Recharge on 16 June, 2021.)