LScotland save England? In any case, the rebellious cousin is showing him the way, as well as all of Europe, with a message: renewable energies are now and on a massive scale. The Scottish government has just made public the result of the auction of lots in the North Sea to install new offshore wind turbines. And the result is breathtaking. Seventeen projects were awarded for a power generation capacity of 25 gigawatts (GW). Suddenly and before 2030, the country will have installed a capacity equivalent to almost half (40%) of the French nuclear fleet (60 GW) and double the total of the European offshore wind farm.
The bet is also technological. Half of the power, 13 GW, will be provided by floating wind turbines, not placed on the ground, like oil platforms. This technique, still at the prototype stage, allows the installation of machines far from the coast, in areas where the wind blows more regularly and where space is limited.
The total investment is estimated at 60 billion euros. More than 70 candidates rushed to participate. The winners are unsurprisingly the oil majors BP, Shell and TotalEnergies, the main players in North Sea oil. They harvest a total of 10 GW of projects. Not to mention the Spanish Iberdrola whose local subsidiary, Scottish Power, is allocated 7 GW, in association with Shell for a total investment of 27 billion euros.
The big winner from this deluge of investment will be Scotland. The auctions already bring him 840 million euros and half of the 60 billion will go to the British energy industry. We rightly castigate the current financial madness of easy money that fuels bubbles and inequalities, but it at least has the merit of financing bets as daring as this one.
The sum devoted to this giant wind project is equivalent to the construction of the Flamanville reactor and the six other EPR reactors of the same type that EDF hopes to be able to build.
This is essentially what Larry Fink, the boss of the world’s leading management company, BlackRock, says in his annual letter published on Tuesday, January 18. “Never before has so much money been available to turn new ideas into reality,” does he think. According to him, 4,000 billion dollars (about 3,510 billion euros) have already been directed towards sustainable investment, and 50,000 billion would be needed for the energy transition.
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