Marine Scotland has invited tenders related to the re-let of the Scottish Government’s 2014 “Framework Agreement for the Provision of Strategic Environmental Assessment, Appropriate Assessment and Marine Planning Services and Advice to Support Sustainable Economic Development in Scottish Marine Waters” which expires on 30 September 2018.
For the forthcoming call-off framework, it is envisaged that there will be a continued focus on community engagement and economic development in relation to offshore renewable energy, as well as a growing focus on strategic planning projects relating to grid infrastructure in support of offshore renewables.
There will also be a focus on ensuring that sectoral plans are updated to cover any new leasing rounds and consider new technologies, such as floating wind, the tender invitation reads.
The tender follows Crown Estate Scotland’s introduction of proposals for leasing seabed for new offshore wind projects that would be built in Scotland’s waters from late 2020s onwards. The authority published a discussion document in May, outlining a draft leasing process and asking for feedback to help shape the final approach, which is planned to be agreed upon and launched in late 2018 or early 2019.
New offshore wind projects will have to be sited in areas identified in Marine Scotland’s forthcoming Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind. Namely, Marine Scotland is working to identify potential option areas within which new offshore wind energy developments could take place and will, as a result, release a new Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind for Scottish Waters.