2 A Low Carbon Place
Our ambition is to achieve at least an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050
A Low Carbon Place
Building on NPF2
2.1 NPF2 aimed to reduce emissions by highlighting the opportunities arising from our very substantial natural resources and emphasising the need to diversify the energy sector. To help achieve this, it identified the reinforcements to the electricity grid network which were necessary to realise the potential of our renewable energy resources. It also supported decentralisation of energy networks. Provision was made for new non-nuclear baseload electricity generating capacity supported by carbon capture infrastructure at existing power station sites to replace existing thermal generating capacity which was scheduled to close.
2.2 By 2010, Scotland's greenhouse gas emissions were 24.3% below 1990 levels. In 2012, we met the equivalent of 39% of our electricity demand from renewable sources. However, we need to intensify our efforts to reduce both demand for energy and the emissions associated with the production of the energy we will continue to need.
2.3 On 29 January this year, we published Low Carbon Scotland: Meeting our Emissions Reduction Targets 2013-27. This is a draft of the second report on proposals and policies (RPP2) for meeting Scotland's annual greenhouse gas emissions targets, and has recently been subject to Parliamentary consideration. It outlines the benefits of a low carbon Scotland - economic, social and environmental. It clearly shows the scale of the challenges, and the opportunities, in reducing emissions from our built environment, transport systems, waste management and other sectors. It recognises the important role of our spatial planning system. NPF3 will help deliver the package of proposals and policies outlined in RPP2.
2.4 For the energy sector, we are committed to achieving a number of long-term targets:
- reduce total final energy demand by 12% by 2020 (from the 2005-2007 baseline), covering all fuels and sectors;
- achieving a carbon intensity of 50g CO2/kWh of electricity generation in Scotland, an 83% reduction on the estimated 291g CO2/kWh in 2011;
- meeting at least 30% of overall energy demand from renewables by 2020 (this includes generating the equivalent of at least 100% of gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020, with an interim target of 50% by 2015);
- sourcing 11% of heat demand and 10% of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020;
- achieving at least 500MW of renewable energy in community and local ownership by 2020; and
- by 2050 Scotland will have a largely decarbonised heat sector with significant progress made by 2030.
2.5 This will result in unprecedented opportunities for development, investment and growth over the coming years, with different opportunities in different parts of the country. The low carbon energy sector is fast moving and will continue to be shaped by technological innovation and a changing environment. As a result, our strategy must remain sufficiently flexible to adapt to uncertainty and change, and to grasp the new opportunities which will undoubtedly emerge.
2.6 Our early engagement in the development of NPF3 confirmed that stakeholders, across all sectors, recognise that helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is a key issue for NPF3. There were many suggestions for infrastructure improvements, including from the development sector and utilities companies, who together highlighted significant opportunities for economic benefit and investment in renewable energy and other technologies. There was marked support for maximising the economic benefits from the deployment of offshore renewables, and for planning of onshore wind energy in the right locations.
2.7 We propose that NPF3 builds on NPF2 and helps to deliver the measures in our second report on proposals and policies (RPP2) by:
- continuing to recognise the importance of reducing the demand for energy;
- promoting greater use of renewable sources of heat energy and recovery of 'waste' heat;
- supporting the further deployment of onshore wind farms, whilst addressing concerns raised about the impacts of some wind energy development;
- supporting and capitalising on the opportunities for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy development;
- reflecting the objective of greater community and local ownership of renewable energy;
- supporting the development of carbon capture and storage infrastructure to minimise emissions from base-load generation;
- highlighting the opportunities to use heat mapping to help identify the strategic opportunities for district heating and cooling;
- identifying further necessary enhancements to the electricity transmission and distribution grid; and
- linking these ambitions with opportunities for growth and development which are emerging across the country.
2.8 Elsewhere in this Main Issues Report we set out how we think NPF3 should support decarbonisation of the transport sector and more efficient waste management. Land management, including protection and restoration of peatland and woodland expansion will also make an important contribution to reducing emissions, as explored in Section 3.
Reducing energy demand
2.9 The aim of improved energy efficiency is an essential element of this strategy, in our proposals for settlements, transport, digital links, waste and energy. The draft Scottish Planning Policy indicates that development plans can help deliver this at the regional and local levels. The Building Regulations set out the emissions standards required in new buildings, whilst energy efficiency improvements to our existing building stock are also being taken forward as actions in the upcoming Sustainable Housing Strategy. Actions being developed following consultation in 2012 include an Energy Efficiency Standard for Social Housing and the development of draft regulations for minimum energy efficiency standards for private sector housing.
2.10 Heat constitutes around half of our total demand for energy, and we aim to generate 11% of our heat requirement from renewable sources by 2020. We are on track to achieve this target, producing an estimated 1,696 GWh of renewable heat. Around 89% of renewable heat in 2010 was sourced from biomass installations. Our ambition is to see a largely decarbonised heat sector by 2050, with significant progress made by 2030. We have published an outline heat vision setting out draft deployment guidance, with overarching priorities to reduce the need for heat; supply heat efficiently and at least cost to consumers; and use renewable and low carbon heat resources. We will publish a Heat Generation Policy Statement later this year to set out scenarios for delivery of that vision.
2.11 In the longer term, we expect contributions from deep geothermal and other emerging technologies to become more significant. We will also need to consider the case for investment in infrastructure to deliver low carbon heat through the gas grid, electricity grid, large-scale district heating schemes, energy storage and microgeneration. We must also take into account that over time, demand for heat will reduce, at least within the domestic sector, as a result of improved energy efficiency in buildings old and new.
2.12 In the meantime, the Agenda for Cities notes the potential contribution of combined heat and power energy systems, and the importance of higher urban densities as a consideration in determining the viability of installing the necessary infrastructure. Recovering heat currently wasted from large-scale thermal power stations offers a key opportunity to achieve greater efficiency from our energy infrastructure. Map 1 (a) and (b) show planned and existing district heating networks in Scotland, illustrating that there are many opportunities to extend these further.
2.13 The draft Scottish Planning Policy indicates that planning authorities should plan for the efficient use of available sources of heat.
Question 1: How can NPF3 support the transition to a largely decarbonised heat sector?
How could NPF3 go further in supporting a spatial framework to help achieve our ambition of decarbonising the heat sector and guiding the necessary infrastructure investments?
2.14 The target of generating the equivalent of at least 100% of gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020 will require around 14-16 GW of capacity to be deployed over the next 7 years, and onshore wind will play a significant role in achieving the target. Whilst we will increasingly see the development of offshore renewable energy generation, the further deployment of onshore wind remains a key strand in our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve a balanced energy supply.
2.15 The Scottish Government supports onshore wind energy development in appropriate locations. The contribution that onshore wind is making to our energy generation sector is evidence of the success of our approach. So too is the fact that developments to date have largely avoided our nationally and internationally protected areas. While there is strong public support for wind energy as part of the renewable energy mix, views on onshore wind in particular locations can vary. In some areas, concern is being expressed about the scale, proximity and impacts of proposed wind energy developments. In others, it is recognised as an opportunity to improve the long-term resilience of rural communities, particularly from locally-owned schemes, and also where benefits from commercial developments are secured.
2.16 Accompanying the continuing priority to ensure green forms of electricity is the requirement to ensure that wind farms are appropriately sited and well designed. The draft Scottish Planning Policy adjusts the policy approach. It explains how planning authorities should continue to prepare spatial strategies for onshore wind development. It indicates that planning authorities should determine what scales of wind farm these should cover, and that they may identify areas where cumulative impacts mean capacity has been reached. It also clarifies the matters to be taken into account when considering the impacts of individual development proposals.
2.17 Local authorities have extended their coverage of spatial frameworks for onshore wind as supplementary guidance, but concerns have been expressed about their consistency. We remain of the view that planning authorities are best placed to plan for onshore wind at the local level, including assessment of any cumulative impacts. However, many of those who have engaged with us in preparing this Main Issues Report and beforehand, believe there is a need for clearer spatial guidance at the national level. We see merit in indicating where, from a national perspective, there are known to be significant landscape constraints to large-scale onshore wind energy development.
2.18 Map 2 shows our finest and most iconic landscapes - National Parks and National Scenic Areas. The draft Scottish Planning Policy makes clear that the Scottish Government does not wish to see new wind farms in these areas. In addition to our nationally important, most scenic, landscapes, we also want to continue our strong protection for our wildest landscapes.
2.19 Scottish Natural Heritage has for many years advised planning authorities and developers on the landscape and natural heritage issues to be considered when planning for new wind farm development. In keeping with Scottish Planning Policy, it has consistently advised against wind farm development which would adversely affect the character of our wildest landscapes. Its map of 'search areas for wild land' (SAWLs) developed in 2002, has informed this advice.
2.20 SNH has been updating its wild land mapping using modern GIS tools to provide a more objective approach to understanding wild land. Based on a number of attributes like naturalness of the land cover, ruggedness, remoteness from roads and the visible lack of modern man-made structures, SNH has published an updated map showing the 'core' areas of wild land in Scotland.
2.21 Ministers do not intend to legislate for new environment designations in Scotland, and core areas of wild land would not be designated under statute. However, we think the SNH mapping can inform future planning for wind farm development.
Question 2: How can we provide better spatial guidance for onshore wind?
Scottish Planning Policy already safeguards areas of wild land character. Do you agree with the Scottish Government's proposal that we use the SNH mapping work to identify more clearly those areas which need to be protected?
Offshore renewable energy
2.22 We want Scotland to be a world leader in offshore renewable energy. In time, we expect that the pace of onshore wind energy development will be overtaken by a growing focus on our significant offshore renewable energy opportunities, including wind, wave and tidal energy. These technologies have the potential to supply up to 10 GW of electricity for use in Scotland or for export.
2.23 'Blue Seas-Green Energy', a plan for offshore wind, was published in 2011. It identified six sites within Scottish Territorial Waters for development in the short term. Phase 1 of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (NRIP) identifies 11 ports as having potential to support the offshore wind sector. NPF2 recognised the potential for marine energy, but since its publication in 2009 more specific proposals have emerged as shown in Map 3.
2.24 Wave and tidal energy opportunities are also developing: a Marine Energy Park has been established in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters, and significant further opportunities off the west coast are emerging. Scotland's two Low Carbon/Renewables Enterprise Areas, comprising seven sites, encourage businesses to bring forward investment and development decisions to maximise opportunities in the renewables sector for cities, rural areas and our islands.
2.25 Marine Scotland is reviewing its plan for offshore wind, and a revised version will be published for consultation, along with new sectoral plans for wave and tidal energy, later in 2013.
2.26 We believe that NPF3 should complement marine planning by addressing the significant onshore development requirements arising from offshore wind, wave and tidal energy development. We think a co-ordinated approach is required to ensure that the ambitions for this sector are realised as soon as possible, and that the priorities for NPF3 should be to:
- identify and support the onshore electricity grid infrastructure required to realise the early opportunities for offshore renewables; and
- support investment in, and the development of, ports and Enterprise Areas to facilitate the construction and servicing of offshore renewable energy.
2.27 Key projects that will require grid connection and associated infrastructure include those being taken forward in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Energy Park and the first tranche of offshore wind energy projects off the east coast off the Forth, the Tay, and in the Moray Firth. We propose to identify the key onshore infrastructure requirements arising from these offshore projects, as a national development in NPF3.
Onshore infrastructure for offshore renewable energy
Why it is needed
To assist the early delivery of key offshore renewable energy projects
Onshore electricity connections, substations and converter stations associated with proposed offshore renewable energy projects in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters and off the Forth, Tay and Moray Firths
2.28 In the longer term we believe that there will be a need for further strategic thinking on the onshore and offshore grid connections required to deliver our vision for low carbon energy. For example, we could look to identify opportunities for synergies between projects, and for strategic connections that make best use of existing infrastructure. In particular, we could focus connections on a limited number of key hubs to avoid a proliferation of coastal landfalls. This would be consistent with the recognition of key locations such as Cockenzie and Peterhead within our preferred spatial strategy.
Question 3: How can onshore planning best support aspirations for offshore renewable energy?
Should we include onshore infrastructure requirements of the first offshore wind developments, wave and tidal projects as a national development?
2.29 Scotland's renewable energy resources create important opportunities beyond commercial development and investment. Our ambition is to significantly increase the combined capacity of community owned schemes to at least 500 MW by 2020.
2.30 The Renewable Energy Routemap reported that at least 147 MW of community and local schemes had been installed by 2012, spread across 3,400 sites.
2.31 Early engagement on NPF3 suggested that realising this target should be recognised as a priority, to ensure local benefits are realised and to help achieve a more decentralised energy network. Community renewable energy projects can empower people, providing social and financial benefits which in turn contribute to the broader objectives of supporting rural communities in particular, and making sustainable use of our natural assets.
2.32 We see that this is an important objective, but given the likely scale and broad distribution of community energy schemes it is not possible to identify where these should be prioritised in a national spatial strategy. Section 4 does, however, take this potential into account in its recommendations for sustainable rural development and the consultation on the draft Scottish Planning Policy provides a further opportunity to consider the role of community benefits within planning decision making.
Base-load electricity generation requirements
2.33 Our electricity policy aims to achieve a mix of generation which can be largely decarbonised by 2030. Although we want to deliver the equivalent of 100% of our gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020, and to develop our capacity for energy storage, we will still see a role for thermal generation as part of a balanced mix.
2.34 Our draft Electricity Generation Policy Statement (EGPS), published for consultation last year, proposes a minimum of 2.5 GW of thermal generation, progressively fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to bring down greenhouse gas emissions. Map 4 shows key existing and potential generating sites.
2.35 There will be no nuclear new build in Scotland, although we have not ruled out extending the operating life of Scotland's existing nuclear power stations, at Hunterston and Torness, to maintain security of supply over the next decade while the transition to renewables and clean thermal generation takes place.
2.36 Some have argued that there is no place for fossil fuel generation as part of the energy mix. The Scottish Government does not view unabated fossil fuel generation as a reasonable alternative given the importance of developing an increasingly low carbon generation mix and maintaining a diverse and secure supply of electricity, and we remain committed to the development of CCS infrastructure in support of the decarbonisation agenda.
2.37 The natural conditions required to store carbon are abundant in the geological formations of the oil and gas fields of the North Sea. This provides an opportunity for Scotland to become a centre of expertise in carbon capture and storage technology. We aim to demonstrate this at a commercial scale by 2020, with full retrofit across conventional fossil fuel power stations by 2025-30.
2.38 NPF2 designated new non-nuclear baseload capacity at existing power station sites, including Longannet, Cockenzie and Peterhead, as a national development.
2.39 An application to Scottish Ministers for a new coal-fired power station with CCS at Hunterston has been withdrawn and the operating life of the Hunterston B nuclear power station has been extended to 2023. Longannet is no longer being considered by the UK Government's Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) as a demonstration plant for CCS. The Peterhead gas power station with CCS project has recently been awarded preferred bidder status in this competition, and a proposal at Grangemouth remains on the reserve list. They could play a key role in taking forward our ambition to develop this technology and make best use of our natural storage capacity.
2.40 The Peterhead CCS project provides an opportunity to develop the world's first commercial-scale full chain CO2 capture, transportation and storage project. It would collect up to 10 million tonnes of CO2 emitted from Peterhead Power station over 10 years, and store it in the depleted Goldeneye gas reservoir, some 100 km offshore. The Captain project at Grangemouth proposes a c700 MWe Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Power Station with carbon capture; transporting the CO2 via an existing gas pipeline to St Fergus; a CO2 transport hub at St Fergus and then storage of the CO2 within the Captain Sandstone Fairway beneath the North Sea.
2.41 We believe that both of these projects should be identified as national developments in NPF3. This is despite Grangemouth not being shortlisted by DECC as a demonstration plant for CCS as, in the longer term, it retains strategic significance to our CCS ambitions. Both projects have the potential to make best use of our existing infrastructure and expertise and are located in industrial areas close to pipelines through which the CO2 can be transported. They can also draw on existing technical expertise in the oil and gas sectors. Environmental issues would, however, need to be resolved at the project consenting stage, including potential issues arising from the Grangemouth project's location adjacent to the Firth of Forth Special Protection Area.
Carbon capture and storage
Why it is needed
To support a diverse, secure and low carbon supply of electricity
Peterhead Carbon Capture and Storage - redevelopment of existing Peterhead gas power station including development required for the capture, transportation, compression and onshore storage of carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide transport hub at St Fergus
Captain: The Clean Energy Project - Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle Power Station at Grangemouth with development required for capture and compression of carbon; new and modified pipelines and associated compressor stations to transport carbon dioxide; connection(s) to the national electricity grid. Coal fuel storage
2.42 National Grid has proposed that NPF3 should make a commitment to establishing a CCS pipeline from Grangemouth to St Fergus, and offshore thereafter, as a national development, recognising the importance of St Fergus as a national asset. We propose including any significant pipeline requirements as part of any national development for CCS. Given the scale of the baseload requirement identified in the draft EGPS, the advantages of the Peterhead and Grangemouth projects noted above, and our focus on making best use of our existing resources and infrastructure, we do not consider there to be a need to retain a new power station at Hunterston as a national development in NPF3.
2.43 The current coal-fired power station at Cockenzie has closed. Scottish Power was recently given consent for a new efficient Combined Cycle Gas Turbine at this site.
2.44 Given their continuing importance during the period in which CCS technology is being developed, we believe that national development status should be retained for Longannet and Cockenzie. The description of the national development should be sufficiently flexible to reflect the dynamic nature of the energy sector and the importance of these sites as centres of expertise and employment. There may also be opportunities for heat produced by electricity generation on these sites to contribute to our space heating requirements.
New non-nuclear base-load capacity at existing power station sites
Why it is needed
To support a diverse, secure and low carbon supply of electricity
Longannet - new or refurbished electricity generating plant, to be fitted with carbon capture technology by 2030; carbon storage facility
Cockenzie - new or refurbished electricity generating plant, to be fitted with carbon capture technology by 2030; carbon storage facility
Question 4: How can we support the decarbonisation of baseload generation?
Do you think that NPF3 should designate thermal power generation at Peterhead and/or a new CCS power station at Grangemouth, with associated pipeline infrastructure, as national developments?
Is there also a need for Longannet and Cockenzie to retain their national development status as part of a strategy of focussing baseload generation on existing sites?
Electricity transmission, distribution and storage
2.45 The Scottish Government is working with a wide range of partners to deliver a strategically-planned onshore and offshore electricity transmission network to support the realisation of Scotland's full energy potential, especially renewable energy.
2.46 NPF2 designated a series of enhancements to the electricity grid as a national development. Some of these projects have been completed and others are in progress, but there is a need for additional strategic connections to provide access to areas where natural energy resources, and opportunities for investment, are greatest. We propose that NPF3 retains and updates the existing national development, incorporating requirements for further enhancements.
Electricity grid reinforcements
Why it is needed
To provide the transmission capacity to realise the potential of Scotland's renewable energy resources and maintain long-term security of electricity supply
New and modified onshore cables and overhead lines; onshore infrastructure for new and modified subsea cables, including connections to the islands, England, Northern Ireland and Norway; new converter stations; new and extended substations
2.47 A key element of our preferred spatial strategy, informed in part by the economic opportunities emerging from onshore and offshore renewable energy, is that the proposed subsea links to Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles should remain a priority in NPF3. These projects not only support development opportunities but will support the long-term resilience of these island communities.
2.48 NPF2 also highlighted a longer-term aspiration to develop international sub-sea links. Since its publication, a link between Peterhead and Norway has been proposed and there is ongoing work to develop an integrated offshore grid at the European level. To the west of Scotland, the Isles Project, which will link offshore renewable energy resources with Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, is also at an early stage of conceptual development. This is expected to form an important connection in the longer term, with a potential landfall at Hunterston. These projects provide internationally significant opportunities to export energy and address the intermittency of some types of renewables by facilitating transfer and storage of excess energy.
2.49 These projects are shown in Map 5.
2.50 To emphasise the importance of international links and build on the role of Peterhead as a key hub, we propose including the onshore connection and other infrastructure required for possible interconnection from Scotland to Norway as part of the national development relating to grid enhancement.
2.51 We could, as a further alternative, also include the connections required for the ISLES project as part of this national development. Our preferred spatial strategy supports the development of the ISLES project. However, there is less certainty about the location and nature of its onshore requirements, so we are not inclined to favour its inclusion as a national development at this time.
2.52 The draft EGPS also highlighted the potential of energy storage in supporting the development of renewable energy generating capacity and the diversification of energy supplies. National locational priorities for storage projects are not yet clear, but it is important that NPF3 reflects the importance of existing and emerging technologies to support the development of the sector as a whole.
Question 5: What approach should we take to electricity transmission, distribution and storage?
Should we update the suite of grid enhancements, and include the landfall of a possible international interconnector from Peterhead? What projects should be included?
What more can NPF3 do to support the development of energy storage capacity?
Further opportunities in the oil and gas sector
2.53 The oil and gas sector has a strong future, and remains a key part of our economy. The industry was worth around £27.3 billion in 2011 and is one of Scotland's most important sources of exports. While we propose that NPF3 should focus heavily on the transition to the low carbon economy, our strategy is also to make the most of our existing natural and economic assets. This includes those associated with our oil and gas industry, whose technology and skills are readily transferable to the development of renewable energy.
2.54 Since the 1970s, approximately 39 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) have been extracted from the UK Continental Shelf. Current estimates suggest that there are up to 24 billion boe still to be extracted. With recent increases in oil and gas prices this means the potential value of remaining oil and gas reserves is very significant. Work is underway to construct a major new gas plant adjacent to the existing Sullom Voe Oil Terminal in Shetland and substantial investment has been committed to improve and refurbish the existing terminal in preparation for increased flows of oil from West of Shetland. There will also be important economic opportunities arising from the decommissioning of existing offshore oil and gas infrastructure, particularly in areas such as the North East, the Moray Firth, Shetland, Orkney and the Western Isles. Finally, as noted in the draft Scottish Planning Policy, there are emerging opportunities to utilise our onshore reserves of 'unconventional' gas, such as shale gas and coal bed methane, in ways which are compatible with the protection of the environment.
2.55 These opportunities inform our spatial strategy, and we think that initiatives to consolidate and develop this sector, such as the Energetica project in the North East, aspirations for wave energy in the Western Isles and the Ardeer Energetics Cluster in Ayrshire, should be reflected in our spatial strategy. Key existing oil and gas infrastructure at Flotta, Sullom Voe, St Fergus and Grangemouth will remain very important and it is essential that it is protected from development which could compromise its potential. Some of the projects associated with the renewables sector, for example at the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (NRIP) ports, can also support the oil and gas sector as well as the growing passenger cruise industry. The draft Scottish Planning Policy also supports this by recognising the need to safeguard these important sites.
2.56 National Grid has highlighted the need for works to enhance the capability to change flows in the gas pipeline network, including increasing north to south flows to enable changes to the compressor fleet to meet emissions targets. This would require changes such as extensions to existing compressor sites, new sites, and the installation of flow control valves. As consenting requirements cannot yet be fully defined, we do not propose that these developments are taken forward as national developments, but we believe that they should be recognised as a nationally important aspiration in NPF3.
Retaining the benefits from the energy sector in Scotland
2.57 We want to ensure that the growing use of our natural energy resources leads to investment and new development opportunities across the country, retaining the benefits in Scotland as far as possible.
2.58 We propose that NPF3 supports the delivery of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan (NRIP) by prioritising the improvements in infrastructure it identifies. Some development and infrastructure projects associated with the NRIP sites are progressing in the short term and may come forward for consenting during the preparation of NPF3. These sites have the potential to become hubs for development and investment in renewable energy, and to contribute to our aspiration for more regionally balanced development in the long term. They need to be well connected by land and sea.
2.59 Map 6 shows the Phase 1 sites, which we think should form a focus for the spatial strategy.
2.60 The Forth and Tay and, more specifically, the ports of Leith, Methil and Dundee provide a key focus for activities in the short term. The proximity of these areas to the first round of offshore wind developments in Scottish Territorial Waters means that development proposals are already coming forward. NPF3 should recognise the national significance of these locations and emphasise the need for that to be reflected in development plans for the east of Scotland. As explored in Section 3, the strategy could also support delivery of any compensation measures required to offset the impacts of development on areas protected by environmental designations.
2.61 We consider that the proposed expansion of Aberdeen Harbour merits designation as a national development, partly due to its contribution to the renewables sector, but also in recognition of its wider role in supporting international trade, links with Orkney and Shetland, and the importance of its contribution to the economy of the North East and Scotland as a whole. This is discussed in more detail in Section 5. Peterhead is identified in Phase 1 of the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan as a location for manufacturing, operations, maintenance and support, building on its role as an energy hub and supporting a range of technologies.
2.62 There are opportunities for many areas around our coasts to benefit from our low carbon strategy. The Moray Firth, Western Isles, Caithness, Orkney, Shetland and Argyll have the potential to see significant investment. Phase 1 sites identified in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan include Arnish, Ardersier, Kishorn, and Nigg.
2.63 We believe there would be particular benefit in NPF3 supporting the implementation of the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters wave and tidal projects which are coming forward in the short term. As well as onshore infrastructure requirements, wider economic and development opportunities extend to a number of ports and harbours including Lyness, Hatston, and Scrabster. Prioritising development in support of these wave and tidal projects could assist with the restructuring of the Caithness economy, helping to offset the eventual loss of jobs and investment resulting from the decommissioning of the Dounreay nuclear facility. In Argyll, the Campbeltown/Machrihanish hub offers a key opportunity to support emerging opportunities for wind, wave and tidal development off the west coast. In Ayrshire, Hunterston is a location with considerable potential to support the renewable energy sector, through test and demonstration facilities and as a site for manufacturing.
2.64 There are further medium-term opportunities which go beyond those identified in Phase 1 to provide further support for onshore wind, wave and tidal technologies. These include sites at Inverclyde, Burntisland, Montrose, Ayr and Troon, Highland Deephaven, and Stranraer/Cairnryan. Sites specifically being considered for wave and tidal energy, in addition to the Phase 1 sites also include Sella Ness, Lerwick, Hatston (Kirkwall), Lyness, Scrabster, and Wick. Further information on Stage 2 of NRIP will be available in due course.
2.65 There are also important low carbon business and investment opportunities in our cities, most obviously in Aberdeen but also in Dundee, Glasgow and Edinburgh, where energy companies are increasingly investing in headquarters and hubs of expertise. We consider that NPF3 best supports this by placing emphasis on improved connectivity, within and between cities and with the rest of the world.
2.66 Education and training are essential components of the transition to the low carbon economy, and will support investment in our centres for learning. Research, development and technological advancement are key to the long-term success of this sector. This emphasises the continuing importance of initiatives such as the University of the Highlands and Islands and the Crichton Campus in Dumfries in promoting a wide geographical spread of expertise and opportunity.
2.67 Our preferred spatial strategy is informed by all these opportunities.
Question 6: Does our emerging spatial strategy help to facilitate investment in sites identified in the National Renewables Infrastructure Plan?
Are there consenting issues or infrastructure requirements at NRIP sites that should be addressed in NPF3 through national development status or other support?