Crown Estate Scotland has announced the results of the world’s first leasing round designed to enable offshore wind energy to supply offshore oil and gas platforms directly. Thirteen projects have been offered exclusivity agreements.
INTOG (Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas) leasing aims to attract investment in innovative offshore wind projects in Scottish waters, as well as help decarbonize 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. This distinctive offshore wind leasing is different to any other previously carried out in the UK or in the world.
Crown Estate offered exclusivity agreements to 13 projects out of a total of 19 applications - five for IN and eight for TOG.
The area of seabed covered by the IN projects is just over 139km2 and by the TOG projects 1534km 2 (a maximum of 1900 km2 was made available for TOG projects and 167 km2 for IN through the Scottish Government’s Initial Plan Framework.)
Crown Estate Scotland will offer a seabed lease of 50 years for TOG projects and 25 years for IN projects.
Exclusivity Agreements will cover projects with a proposed capacity of up to 499MW for IN and 5GW for TOG.
"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," Crown Estate said.
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, Crown Estate Scotland said.
Projects that received exclusivity agreements:
IN or TOG
Total capacity (MW)
Simply Blue Energy
Bluefloat Energy/Renantis Partnership
Bluefloat Energy/Renantis Partnership
BP Alternative Energy Investments
ESB Asset Development UK
Once the Sectoral Marine Plan has been finalized and option agreements signed (expected 2024), around £262m in applicant fees will be secured. Once projects are operating, further revenues will be secured. All net revenues from Crown Estate Scotland go to the Scottish Government for public spending.
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 realized 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 realizing another world leading opportunity for Scotland’s energy transition: helping both decarbonize 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.”
INTOG contract awards were determined on a largely open-auction basis and were judged on a mixture of price and quality, Crown Estate Scotland said.
Option agreements are expected to be offered in 2024. To secure an option agreement, developers must provide a Supply Chain Development Statement (SCDS).