New paper ponders future of offshore wind in Scotland’s seas

New paper ponders future of offshore wind in Scotland’s seas
Courtesy of Crown Estate Scotland

Crown Estate Scotland has unveiled proposals to lease seabed to encourage a new generation of offshore wind projects in Scotland’s waters.

The paper outlines the draft process and asks those interested to feed back to help shape the final approach. Projects will have to be sited in areas identified in Marine Scotland’s forthcoming Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind.

Crown Estate Scotland – the public body that manages seabed leasing to help developers progress good projects – passes the money it makes from offshore renewables to Scottish Government for public spending.

Currently there are two offshore wind projects operating (Robin Rigg, Hywind Scotland), two being built (Beatrice and the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre) and some more due to start being built soon. This means that work needs to start now to ensure new projects are being built from late-2020s onwards.

Early consultation has already taken place, recognising that how Scotland uses its energy assets – including seabed – impacts businesses, communities and consumers across the nation.

John Robertson, Senior Energy & Infrastructure Manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Using our seas to power Scotland is an important part of our economic and environmental well-being.

“To provide affordable, secure and clean energy, Scotland must continue to sustainably use its natural resources and grow the offshore wind sector.”

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, said: “The potential benefits of offshore renewable energy to Scotland are enormous.

“That is why it is important that Crown Estate Scotland makes available the right seabed locations at the right time, in order to contribute to delivery of our energy strategy, attract inward investment, develop new technology and continue to drive down the associated costs of offshore energy.

“I therefore encourage anyone with an interest to feedback to help shape Crown Estate Scotland’s contribution to our energy strategy.”

It can take five to ten years to develop and construct a new offshore wind project. Crown Estate Scotland and the offshore wind sector therefore need to start work now to ensure new projects can continue being built in the late 2020s and onwards.

The Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy confirms Ministers’ commitment to work with Crown Estate Scotland and Marine Scotland on new offshore wind, as part of a whole-system approach to meeting a 2030 target of 50% of energy consumption (heat, transport and electricity) being from renewable sources.

The UK Government’s Clean Growth Strategy also includes a commitment to work with Crown Estate Scotland to understand the potential for deployment of offshore wind from the late-2020s onwards.

The paper outlines a provisional design for a complete leasing package. The design aims to strike a suitable balance of allowing flexibility to developers, in a way which is acceptable to a wide range of stakeholders, while unlocking wider benefits.

Following feedback on the Discussion Document, Crown Estate Scotland plans to launch its final leasing process late 2018 or early 2019.