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.
This proposed offshore wind leasing process aims to support supply chain development and sector innovation, create jobs and stimulate economic growth by:
- Providing certainty and clarity to attract investment in a UK, European and global marketplace;
- Being transparent, open and fair;
- Stimulating competition and innovation;
- Allowing early engagement with stakeholders.
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.”
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.