Scottish Crown Estate starts planning for new round of offshore leasing for large-scale commercial wind turbines

The Scottish Crown Estate – which owns and manages leasing of the seabed – is to start discussions with industry, government and the renewable energy industry to prepare for potential new offshore wind leasing.

It move follows the announcement of Contracts for Difference in September showing a sharp fall in the cost of offshore wind electricity and the Clean Growth Strategy which included a commitment from the UK Government to work with the Scottish Crown Estate Scotland to understand the potential for deployment of offshore wind in the late 2020s and beyond.

Offshore wind directly benefits communities across Scotland by creating jobs, reducing climate change emissions and contributing to the profits that the Scottish Crown Estate hands over to the government.

The proposed new leasing will potentially see more seabed used by developers to build commercial-scale (100MW+) floating and / or fixed offshore wind farms.

Current such offshore wind projects in Scottish waters includes 211MW in operation (including Robin Rigg and Hywind Scotland, (pictured) and 680MW in construction (including Beatrice).

John Robertson, senior development manager at the Scottish Crown Estate, said: “The waters around Scotland have fantastic potential, particularly for developments in deeper waters.

“With costs being lowered and jobs created throughout the supply chain, new leasing has the potential to benefit communities, consumers and the climate.”

It can take developers around nine years from securing an initial agreement for an area of seabed, taking their proposal through pre-planning and consenting into construction, to then start generating electricity.

 Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, commented: “Our peer-reviewed scientific research shows there is limited additional capacity for fixed offshore wind turbines in Scotland, which tend to be located in the shallow waters relatively near to shore and our protected seabird colonies. 

“However, it has also identified that there may be huge potential in Scotland for deeper water technologies such as floating wind. In this nascent sector, Scotland now has an opportunity to be a world leader and transition skills and jobs from North Sea oil and gas if we pursue these technologies in a sustainable way.

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “The potential benefits of offshore wind energy are enormous, given Scotland’s very extensive maritime area and estimated 25% share of Europe’s wind energy potential.

“We are committed to the sensitive development of fixed offshore wind projects and why we are also pioneering the development of floating wind projects for our deeper waters; as a consequence, both floating and fixed offshore wind technologies feature very strongly in our draft Scottish Energy Strategy.”

8 Nov 2017

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