The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring secure, reliable and affordable energy supplies within the context of long-term decarbonisation of energy generation. Continued growth of the renewable energy sector in Scotland is an essential feature of the future clean energy system and a potential key driver of economic growth.
In November 2017, Crown Estate Scotland (CES) announced their intention to run a further leasing round for commercial scale offshore wind energy projects in Scottish Waters. This initiative is consistent with the Scottish Energy Strategy which envisages further offshore wind developments as playing a key role in Scotland’s future energy mix.
To inform the spatial development of this leasing round, Marine Scotland, as Planning Authority for Scotland’s Seas, is required to undertake a planning exercise. This will be taken forward inline with relevant EC, UK and Scottish legislation.
The plan development process involves identifying spatial ‘Areas of Search’, the initial potential areas for the sustainable development of offshore wind. A ‘Sustainability Appraisal’ which considers the impacts on communities, other users of the sea, the economy and the environment (encompassing a Strategic Environmental Assessment and a Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) to identify the potential for effects on European nature conservation sites) will be completed for this plan.
We are at the very early stage of developing the offshore wind plan. Initial Areas of Search have been identified and scoping reports of the environmental and socio-economic assessments have been produced. These reports outline the baseline information and proposed methods to be applied later in the plan process. Marine Scotland are consullting on these early stage documents. These documents can be found at the links below.
The response to this scoping consultation will help shape the plan and refine the Areas of Search moving forward. Responses to the consultation can be provided online at https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/offshore-wind-scoping. Links to the reports can be access below and on the consultation web site. The consultation will close on 18 July 2018