ESB forms joint venture to build €3bn windfarm off Scotland coast

9 Nov 2020

Image: © chungking/

ESB and Edinburgh-based Red Rock Power have formed a joint venture for Inch Cape Offshore, a 72-turbine windfarm off the east coast of Scotland.

ESB is expanding its international renewable energy portfolio across the Irish Sea. The semi-state confirmed it has formed a 50:50 joint venture with Red Rock Power, as part of plans to build a large windfarm development off the east coast of Scotland called Inch Cape Offshore.

The venture has consent to develop an offshore windfarm with a capacity of up to 1GW and the construction of 72 wind turbines that could power up to 700,000 homes. The site is 15km off the Angus Coast and, when completed, will be one of Scotland’s largest single sources of renewable electricity.

Edinburgh-based Red Rock Power is wholly owned by SDIC Power Holdings, a Chinese developer of power plants based in Beijing, which owns a total capacity of more than 34GW. The Irish Independent said the value of the site will be more than €3bn, but no timeline for its construction has been revealed.

Speaking at a virtual signing ceremony, Red Rock Power CEO Guy Madgwick said: “Inch Cape will, without a doubt, make a considerable impact on the country’s clean energy targets and create significant opportunities to support a green economic recovery.

“We look forward to working alongside our colleagues at ESB on the project and to applying synergies within our teams to drive the development forward to a successful build.”

ESB’s executive director for generation and trading, Jim Dollard, added that this is a “milestone investment” in its offshore wind ambitions.

“This builds on similar partnerships ESB has with leading renewable energy companies in developing offshore wind projects off the coast of Ireland and Great Britain,” he said.

‘We want to harness this huge resource’

Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, welcomed the joint venture. He said he expects offshore wind in the country’s 462,000 sq km of waters to play an important role in reducing carbon emissions.

“Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, supporting the continuing growth and expansion of the sector,” he said.

“We want to harness this huge resource for our energy system, unlocking significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector and support the wider decarbonisation of our energy system, including electrification of transport and heat.”

Almost a year ago, ESB announced that it was taking a 50pc stake in Scotland’s Neart na Gaoithe offshore windfarm project from EDF Renewables. The windfarm has a capacity of around 450MW of low-carbon energy and will offset over 400,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic