Equinor Hywind Scotland offshore wind farm. Equinor is one of the NorthWind partners.

Scotland Busy with Sectoral Marine Plans After Awarding 30+ GW of Offshore Wind Capacity

After selecting 33 offshore wind projects through the ScotWind and Innovation and Targeted Oil & Gas (INTOG) leasing rounds, the Scottish government is now revising its original Sectoral Marine Plan (SMP) for offshore wind as part of its iterative plan review process and working on an SMP for INTOG.

The final Sectoral Marine Plans are expected to be adopted in 2024, following a formal consultation process.

The Scottish government has hired the marine consultancy and survey company ABPmer to support the revision of the existing SMP for offshore wind and the production of the INTOG SMP.

The company is working with the government and key stakeholders to complete a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA), and socio-economic impact assessment (SEIA) as well as to facilitate the statutory consultation process, all part of an integrated process whose output is a Sectoral Marine Plan, which contains the Scottish Ministers’ Plan Options (PO) for the sustainable development of commercial-scale offshore renewable energy.

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Earlier this year, Crown Estate Scotland selected 13 projects with a combined capacity of around 5.5 GW through INTOG, the world’s first leasing round designed to enable offshore wind energy to directly supply offshore oil and gas platforms.

The successful INTOG applicants were offered initial agreements which enable them to start offshore wind development work while Marine Scotland’s planning process for the INTOG Sectoral Marine Plan is completed. The selected projects will be assessed through the sectoral planning process and only projects included in the final SMP can be awarded Option Agreements.

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Last year, the government awarded almost 28 GW of capacity in the ScotWind leasing round, with the majority of the 20 chosen projects being floating wind farms.

Scotland first selected 17 offshore wind proposals in January 2022, securing a capacity of 24,826 MW, and then opened a Clearing round in April 2022, inviting bidders who met the required standards but did not secure their chosen location during the initial round to confirm their intention to apply for a revision of their applications for an available alternative location. 

For the Clearing round, which brought three additional projects with a total capacity of 2,800 MW, Crown Estate Scotland made available the NE1 Plan Area of the Sectoral Marine Plan 2020.

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