Scotland attracted more greenfield foreign direct investment (FDI) into wind energy projects last year than any other sub-national state or region worldwide as renewables developers have secured seabed leasing rights in areas with massive potential for offshore wind farms. 

In 2022, foreign investors pledged $54.8bn to wind electric power projects in Scotland, an increase of 233% on the previous year, according to fDi Markets figures (including estimates). The second-placed sub-national region, the Vietnamese province of Binh Thuan, attracted a total of $13bn worth of wind FDI announcements, equivalent to less than a quarter of Scotland’s figure.


Globally, wind power generation mobilised $111.3bn in FDI in 2022. In other words, Scotland alone attracted almost as much wind power FDI as the rest of the world combined. 

Mark Hallan, the director of global investment at Scottish Development International, the UK constituent country’s development agency, says that the fDi Markets figures “underline the interest” among global companies to develop their wind energy projects in Scotland.  

The surge of announced foreign investments follow ScotWind, a leasing round that enabled developers to bid for blocks of Scotland’s seabed to use for commercial-scale offshore wind projects. Some 20 ScotWind sites have been announced so far with seabed option agreements of up to ten years between developers and the Crown Estate Scotland.

These offshore wind projects will have a combined potential electricity generating capacity of 27.6 gigawatts (GW), estimated to be enough to power more than 14 million Scottish homes. Mr Hallan says that ScotWind “will make Scotland a global leader in offshore wind energy”, particularly for floating wind projects, which make up the majority (65%) of the planned capacity, according to ScotWind figures. Several international renewables developers are set to build offshore wind projects, including Ireland’s SSE Renewables, Portugal-based Ocean Winds and Danish giants Orsted and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

ScotWind map Offshore Wind Scotland
Summary of ScotWind leasing round and map of blocks. Image via Offshore Wind Scotland

Most of the 20 sites are on Scotland’s east coast, stretching from the Firth of Forth estuary close to the capital Edinburgh up to sites nearby to Inverness and the Shetland islands. 

Among the largest projects will be a planned 2GW wind farm to the west of the island of Orkney, which will be developed by Corio Generation with its joint venture partners Total Energies and RIDG. The consortium will invest more than £4bn and aims to start producing renewable power by 2030.


“Policymakers have shown real ambition through the ScotWind leasing process,” says Matthew Porter, the head of investment management at Corio Generation, a portfolio company of Macquarie’s Green Investment Group with a global pipeline of 20GW of offshore wind projects. 

Mr Hallan says that the energy transition “represents an incredible opportunity to attract inward investment”, noting Scotland’s proposition is its combination of natural resources, supportive policy environment, technology base and talent.

The Scottish government is also working to attract the supply chain undergirding the offshore wind industry. In February 2023, the government signed a cooperation agreement with Singapore-based Mooreast, which could see the mooring specialist set up a manufacturing hub for floating wind related products in Aberdeen.

Mr Porter of Corio Generation notes that “gearing up the development of the supply chain is always challenging” due to competition between countries, making it “incumbent on both government and industry to make the case why inward investment should locate” in Scotland. 

ScotWind has also faced some local detractors. Common Weal, a left-leaning think tank, criticised the auctions for raising less revenue for the Scottish government than comparable auctions globally and that “promises of supply chain protections have not been met”.