Green light for 5GW of Scottish offshore windfamsNews // November 1, 2011
Agreements for lease have been awarded for five offshore renewable energy sites in Scottish territorial waters.
The projects, which could together deliver 5GW of electricity, are located at Argyll Array and Islay on the west coast, Beatrice in the Moray Firth and at Inch Cape and Neart na Gaoithe in the Outer Forth and Tay.
Together with Round 3 zones off the Scottish coast (zone 1, Moray Firth, and zone 2, Firth of Forth) the total awarded capacity in Scottish waters is now nearly 10GW, in line with the Scottish Government's targets.
The Crown Estate's Scottish Commissioner, Gareth Baird, said: "The Crown Estate has already invested £16 million in offshore renewable energy in Scotland, and plans to invest another £20 million in the next five years, funding 'enabling actions' such as environmental studies and engagement work that help de-risk the projects and attract investment.
"We're very pleased to achieve this important milestone, and will continue to work closely with Scottish Government and developers to progress projects and attract investment, with the aim of helping meet Scotland's ambitious targets on renewable energy production."
Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "We welcome the announcement by The Crown Estate Commissioners to take these hugely important developments to the next stage.
"Offshore renewable energy provides Scotland with a key opportunity to use our many years of experience and expertise to create clean, green energy for the future. The progression of these sites have been made possible through the terms of our Blue Seas Green Energy marine plan, which demonstrates the Scottish Government's continued commitment to developing a successful and sustainable offshore renewable energy industry.
"Scotland has an estimated quarter of Europe's offshore wind resource, making us the powerhouse of green energy in Europe. With this wealth of natural resources it is vital that we plan now to secure the benefits of this next energy revolution for future generations."
Each agreement for lease provides an option to take a seabed lease in the future. This enables developers to make key project decisions as they prepare applications for consent. Final consent is awarded by the regulator, Marine Scotland, which ensures projects meet statutory environmental, safety and operational standards.
The issuing of agreements for lease follows the earlier award of site exclusivity at these locations. This gives developers further security over their chosen sites and allows site survey works to progress.
Developers have established regional developer groups, facilitated by The Crown Estate, which focus on collaborative work required for consenting and co-ordinated stakeholder and community engagement.
In March 2011, the Scottish Government published the sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy in Scottish territorial waters and its post adoption statement.
Sites and developers in relation to the announcement include:
• Argyll Array - Scottish Power Renewables
• Beatrice - Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm Ltd
• Inch Cape - Repsol Nuevas Energias UK
• Islay - SSE Renewables
• Neart na Gaoithe - Mainstream Renewable Power