Crown Estate Scotland has delayed the deadline for applications for ScotWind offshore wind leasing and is carrying out a review of the option structure for the process.
The review of the option structure follows the announcement of the results of The Crown Estate’s offshore wind leasing auction for sites in waters around England and Wales.
The result of the review is targeted to be completed by 24 March, while the deadline for applications will now be later than 31 March and will be confirmed on completion of the review.
The review is expected to help ensure that the offshore wind leasing process attracts major green investment to Scotland by delivering long-term economic and net zero benefits through a competitive and sustainable pipeline of projects.
“The unprecedented outcome of The Crown Estate Round 4 process has, overnight, changed the market dynamics around offshore wind leasing, and could have significant implications for offshore wind development in Scotland. It is only right that we consider the implications of this new situation in relation to ScotWind Leasing,” said Amanda Bryan, Chair of Crown Estate Scotland.
“Our team will now work on the details of how these latest developments can be properly reflected in the ScotWind Leasing option structure, and we’ll ensure our registered applicants, and the wider sector, continue to be kept engaged and informed.”
RenewableUK has voiced its concerns regarding the delay, stating that offshore wind developers will be dismayed and that delays and U-turns are bad for investor confidence.
Similarly, Scottish Renewables believes that companies will be disappointed and intensely frustrated at the delay, as well as at the possibility that the goalposts will be moved at such a late stage. It is vital that any delay to the overall process is minimized in order to reduce uncertainty for industry, the company believes.
“Scotland is already disadvantaged by its tougher seabed conditions and the higher electricity transmission charges projects here face,” said Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables.
“If offshore wind is to deliver on its potential for job creation and economic development in Scotland it is imperative that the processes through which this low-cost, reliable technology is deployed are as straightforward, and progress as rapidly, as possible, and we would urge Crown Estate Scotland and The Scottish Government to proceed quickly with that in mind.”
To remind, Crown Estate Scotland opened the application window for the ScotWind seabed leasing round for offshore wind projects this January.