Crown Estate Scotland (CES) is set to start discussions with the industry, government and interested organisations to prepare for potential new offshore wind leasing, which will lead to Scotland adding commercial-scale floating and fixed offshore wind farms that would be in operation as of late 2020s and beyond.
A range of agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and marine sectors will be involved in informing the approach to the new leasing.
John Robertson, senior development manager at Crown Estate Scotland said: “We have now started to consider if and how to issue new leasing rights for commercial-scale offshore wind projects. This will include speaking to local, Scottish and UK stakeholders in 2018 to understand their views on our proposed approach.”
Crown Estate Scotland stated that the proposed new leasing follows the award of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) in September, which showed a sharp fall in the cost of offshore wind electricity, as well as the Clean Growth Strategy which included a commitment from the UK Government to work with Crown Estate Scotland and The Crown Estate to understand the potential for deployment of offshore wind in the late 2020s and beyond.
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.
Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said: “We want to maximise the huge potential of this industry and its supply chain here, in Scotland, and so I welcome Crown Estate Scotland’s efforts to identify future licensing opportunities and look forward to working with CES as they manage Scotland’s marine assets directly on behalf of Scottish Ministers.”
Besides being the home of the world’s first operational floating wind farm, current offshore wind projects in waters around Scotland include the operational wind farm Robin Rigg, and the Beatrice and Aberdeen Bay offshore wind farms under construction.