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ESB to co-develop €3bn offshore wind farm in Scotland

The ESB has teamed up with a Chinese-owned firm to develop a €3bn-plus wind farm off the coast of Scotland.

It’s the second major Scottish offshore wind farm project that the semi-State ESB has signed up to in the past year.

In its latest deal, the ESB has inked a 50-50 joint venture with Edinburgh-based Red Rock Power – a wholly-owned subsidiary of China’s State-controlled SDIC Power – to develop the Inch Cape wind farm. It will generate up to one gigawatt of electricity and include 72 turbines.

It will be located about 15km from Angus on the east coast of Scotland.

Last year, the ESB snapped up a 50pc stake in the 450MW Neart na Gaoithe offshore Scottish wind-farm project from French utility giant Electricite de France. Construction of the €2bn project, which features 54 wind turbines, is already under way, with full commissioning expected to take place in 2023.

No specific timelines have yet been hammered out for the development of the Inch Cape wind farm, which will generate enough electricity to power up to one million homes.

“With consent for up to one gigawatt and 72 turbines, this is a milestone investment in offshore wind for ESB and our ambition to lead the transition to a low-carbon future,” said Jim Dollard, the ESB’s executive director, generation and trading.

ESB and Red Rock Power have also agreed that they may collaborate on future energy projects.

The ESB has a substantial presence in the UK market, owning power stations and wind farms. It also has a retail arm there.

Guy Madgwick, the chief executive of Red Rock Power, said Inch Cape would make a “considerable impact” on Scottish and UK clean energy targets.

Less than two weeks ago, the Scottish government published a plan for the development of offshore energy that will see up to 11 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity installed by the end of this decade.

In Ireland, the ESB linked up last year with Norwegian energy firm Equinor to develop offshore wind farm projects in Ireland. The joint venture hopes to have projects commercialised by 2030.

SDIC Power has assets across wind, solar, hydro and coal-fired power generation. Those assets have a total installed capacity of 36.3 gigawatts.

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