The Scottish coastline offers a huge wave and tidal energy resource with the potential to generate far more electricity than we currently need from wave and tidal energy sources. Some of the best resources are located off the northern and western coastlines and island areas with the world's first grid connected wave energy device producing power on the shoreline at Islay.
Scotland's abundant offshore wind resource also offers potential for offshore wind development: one proposal is already being developed in the Solway Firth and a deep water demonstrator project is operating in the Moray Firth, part-funded by the Scottish Government.
The Scottish Government believes that wave and tidal energy will make a very important contribution towards meeting our future demand for electricity: that is why we have helped fund the construction of the European Marine Energy Centre on Orkney, a world class facility for the development, testing and accreditation of marine energy generation and delivery systems.
Developers proposing the construction, extension or operation of a marine-based generating station within Scottish territorial waters or the Scottish Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) will require Scottish Ministers' consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989: some offshore installations, for example those used solely for supplying power for use offshore, are subject to exemption.
Developers considering any marine development are subject to a number of legislative and other regulatory requirements, including marine licensing under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (between 0 and 12 nm) or the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (between 12 and 200 nm). To simplify the process for applicants, Marine Scotland Licensing Operations Team is the single point of application and initial inquiry for all Section 36 and marine licence applications.
The Crown Estate owns virtually the entire seabed out to the 12 nautical mile territorial limit, including the rights to explore and utilise the natural resources of the UK continental shelf. The Energy Act 2004 also vested rights to The Crown Estate to licence the generation of renewable energy and grant leases for development sites on the continental shelf within the REZ out to 200nm.
Marine Scotland welcomes early inquiries from applicants to discuss potential renewable energy developments and encourages early dialogue with stakeholders. Should you wish to discuss a potential development or any other aspect of the offshore renewable consenting process, please get in touch with us.