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Crown Estate Scotland announce new offshore wind leasing process to decarbonise North Sea oil and gas


By Calum MacLeod

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Crown Estates Scotland's new leasing process is aimed at helping decarbonise the oil and gas sector.
Crown Estates Scotland's new leasing process is aimed at helping decarbonise the oil and gas sector.

Crown Estate Scotland will launch a new leasing process for offshore wind farms to help decarbonise Scotland’s oil and gas sector.

The announcement follows the opening of the Scottish Government’s consultation on a new planning process which will inform the areas to be made available for seabed leases.

In addition to enhancing the role that offshore wind can play in reducing the carbon emissions associated with North Sea energy production, this leasing is aimed at helping develop Scotland as a destination for increased innovation and supply chain opportunities linked to offshore renewable energy.

This process is entirely separate to the ScotWind Leasing round currently under way for commercial scale offshore wind projects across Scotland, and is specifically designed for offshore wind farms which support the decarbonisation of the oil and gas sector, as well as small scale innovation projects of less than 100MW.

Crown Estate Scotland plans to open the leasing process for applications in early 2022. Successful applicants will then be granted exclusivity over relevant areas of seabed, with final Option Agreements put in place following the adoption of the Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas decarbonisation Offshore Wind Sectoral Marine Plan by the Scottish Government.

A further announcement will be made outlining additional information on the leasing process in November 2021.

Colin Palmer of Crown Estate Scotland.
Colin Palmer of Crown Estate Scotland.

Colin Palmer, director of marine for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “This is an exciting development for the offshore wind sector which can play an important role in supporting the decarbonisation of Scotland’s oil and gas sector as we work towards net zero.”

Scott Robertson, Oil and Gas Authority director of operations, said: “Power generation accounts for around two thirds of oil and gas production emissions.

"The electrification of oil and gas installations is vital if industry is going to meet its 2027 and 2030 decarbonisation targets agreed in the North Sea Transition Deal. This is a big opportunity for industry to lower its carbon footprint while investing in offshore infrastructure to support the faster growth of wind power in Scottish Waters, all contributing to UK net zero.”

Scottish Renewables chief executive Claire Mack.
Scottish Renewables chief executive Claire Mack.

Claire Mack, chief executive of industry group Scottish Renewables, also welcomed the announcement.

"While new systems to allow Scotland to capitalise on its renewable energy resource are to be welcomed, it is also important that we continue to focus as a country on our net zero mission, and on the economic and social benefits which meeting that target with renewable energy will bring," she said.

"Both Crown Estate Scotland and Marine Scotland already play vital roles in the development of our industry and it is important that they are supported as the demands on them increase, particularly at a time when ScotWind Leasing – the process through which the majority of our offshore wind power will be developed – remains a live process.

"The equivalent of almost all Scotland’s electricity consumption is now provided by renewable technologies like wind, hydro, solar, tidal and more.

"But we have much more to do: the next challenge is decarbonising our heat and transport sectors, which together make up around three-quarters of the energy we use, and it is imperative that the legislation and regulations to allow that decarbonisation, using renewable energy and in line with our existing targets, are optimised to that end."


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