Marine Scotland has awarded a contract to ABPmer to prepare the necessary scoping documents to support the development of floating wind and/ or other possible deep water technologies in Scottish waters.
To assist in meeting its renewable energy targets, the Scottish Government is developing Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy. The government released draft plans for consultation in 2013, which were not finalised due to market uncertainty created by a change in the UK subsidy regime, as well as wave and tidal technology taking longer to mature to the level of commercial readiness.
However, with the development of the world’s first floating wind farm array off the coast of Peterhead and the recent cost reduction for the offshore wind sector demonstrated in the most recent UK Contract for Difference round, Scottish Ministers now wish to review the Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy and undertake a strategic marine planning process to ensure an enabling spatial strategy is in place for the successful development of this sector to include deep water technologies.
Elena San Martin, a senior environmental consultant at ABPmer explained: "The sectoral marine planning process is driven by Sustainability Appraisal which details the requirements for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Social & Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA), Strategic Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) and Public Participation.
"As well as helping to identify the potential opportunities for floating wind and other possible future deep water wind developments in Scottish waters, our scoping process will also set out the approach to undertaking a strategic SEIA and a plan-level HRA in accordance with relevant Scottish and UK legislation. These outputs will be used to inform the strategic assessments needed for a new Offshore Wind Plan for Scottish Waters."
The project is expected to be completed by the end of March and will be published on the Scottish Government’s website in due course. Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd will provide input to the SEIA scoping process.