Scotland is considering plans to add up to 10GW of new offshore wind capacity, according to the recently released Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy (2019).
This draft plan identifies 17 areas, so-called Draft Plan Options (DPOs), split across five regions. The DPOs cover an area of 14,646 km2, including deepwater sites, and have a potential maximum realistic development scenario of up to 28GW of generating capacity.
Assuming an average deployment density of 5 MW/ km2, it is estimated that approximately 2,000 km2 of seabed would need to be operationally developed to deliver up to 10GW of generating capacity, according to the draft plan.
However, due to the nature of the leasing and development processes and likely attrition rates, Crown Estate Scotland will need to offer up to 8,600 km2 of seabed available for Option Agreements via the first cycle of ScotWind leasing to support the development of projects capable of delivering up to 10GW of total generating capacity.
The plan does not set out a specific timeline for reaching the proposed capacity target as there are ”uncertainties regarding the timing, type and scale of future development within the DPOs identified and these factors are beyond the control of the Plan.”
The document has therefore been prepared and assessed using low (3GW), medium (5GW) and high (10GW) regional and national deployment scenarios to reflect this uncertainty.
The Scottish government has opened a consultation on the draft plan which will run until 25 March 2020. Following the consultation, the final plan will be prepared and presented for approval by the Scottish Ministers.
The final plan will provide the spatial framework for the first cycle of seabed leasing by Crown Estate Scotland. Option and Lease Agreements for commercial-scale offshore wind farm development under the first cycle of ScotWind leasing should only be made for areas of seabed identified in the final plan, the government said.
Scotland currently has six operational floating and offshore wind farms, along with eight consented projects, including two floating offshore wind farms, equating to a total generating capacity of just over 5GW.