Scotland sets out blueprint for offshore renewable
A report has been published by Marine Scotland alongside environmental regulators, renewable developers and The Crown Estate which sets out a blue print for the planning and consenting of offshore renewable developments.
The recommendations made include the following:
1. To create a national database of survey data to ensure duplication and minimal costs and time.
2. The use of mandatory multilateral consultation to engage other sea users at the pre-application stage.
3. To introduce common standards of data collection and assessment to ensure developers use methodologies consistently.
4. To prioritise early work so as to identify potential opportunities for new test facilities, including deep water offshore wind technologies.
The report was welcomed by First Minister, Alex Salmond at the Scottish Energy Advisory Board’s first 2012 meeting. He said:
"The Scottish Government and our agencies are determined to build a strong, sustainable and world-leading offshore renewables industry, bringing jobs and investment to communities around the country. An increasing number of major overseas firms are already joining leading Scottish companies to invest in the development of wind, wave and tidal in Scotland. As we move towards our 2020 target of ensuring renewables contribute at least 100 per cent of Scotland’s own electricity demand, it is important that the scoping, planning, development and deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal generation is done as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
"That requires developers to consult early with other industries and with communities and to use common standards when surveying potential sites, while it requires public agencies to commit sufficient resources to be able to provide good information, timely advice and clear decisions to developers and other interested parties.”
"Scotland’s distinct approach to sectoral marine planning has already provided clarity for developers. By ensuring that government, developers and others get things right at the strategic planning and earliest licensing stages we can cut the time and resource spent on inappropriate developments and allow a greater focus on those areas with the best opportunities to harness resources sustainably. In that way we will reduce our reliance on other forms of fossil fuel-generated power and help tackle damaging climate change."
The meeting was co-chaired by Energy Minister Fergus Ewing and Professor Russel Griggs who commented:
“I was delighted to work with the Energy Minister in this important area of policy. The recommendations set out in this report will lead to improvements and efficiencies in the way in which offshore renewable energy projects in Scotland are developed, planned and consented. Encouraging confidence and support across local communities and other interested parties in the offshore renewables projects being developed in Scotland."
Scottish Renewables Director of Policy, Jenny Hogan said:
“With more than 11GW of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy projects in the pipeline by 2020, a streamlined and efficient process for securing planning consent is crucial to making these plans a reality, and creating a lynchpin for Scotland’s next industrial revolution. This report’s recommendations will build upon the concerted effort made by industry, government and regulators to move these projects closer to deployment, and ultimately deliver clean, safe and secure electricity from around our shores to homes and businesses across Scotland.”
The recommendations will now be developed by the regulatory and advisory bodies to include Marine Scotland.