Scottish Government's offshore wind policy announcement an 'important step forward'
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Scotland has taken an important step to the creation of a world class wind sector following the publication of the Scottish Government'sfinal Offshore Wind Policy Statement and ambitious new wind generation targets.
This is the view from Crown Estate Scotland, the agency responsible for leasing seabed sites for wind farm developments through ScotWind Leasing.
The Scottish Government's new published Sectoral Marine Plan and its final Offshore Wind Policy Statement confirm its commitment to offshore wind with a new aim of increasing offshore wind capacity tenfold to 11 gigawatts (GW) of energy installed by 2030 – enough to power more than eight million homes.
As well as outlining the economic opportunities offshore wind presents, the Scottish Government has also adopted a plan identifying suitable areas for commercial-scale offshore wind projects. This will inform the first seabed leasing process led by the newly devolved Crown Estate Scotland.
Scotland’s energy minister, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “This is a pivotal moment for the development of our offshore wind sector. Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world and our ambition to capitalise on our offshore wind generation capacity is part of the bold action we are taking to support economic recovery and become a net zero society.
“The Scottish Government is determined to drive a green economic recovery with investment in renewable energy at the heart of it. We want to harness Scotland’s enviable wind resource for our energy system and unlock significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector.
“To ensure that developers have a clear framework to deliver the next round of offshore wind projects, we have also published a Sectoral Marine Plan identifying areas that are appropriate for commercial-scale developments and providing a strategic springboard for achieving our aspirations for future development.
“The plan is based on extensive consultation and seeks to balance the vital importance of our marine environment and other key sectors with the huge ambition and opportunity we have for the offshore wind sector.”
John Robertson, head of energy and infrastructure for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Today is an important step in the journey towards a world class offshore wind sector in Scotland, and it means that we can proceed with the next phase of ScotWind Leasing. Our ability to harness Scotland’s huge potential for offshore wind is a vital part of the wider efforts to hit Scotland’s ambitious Net Zero targets, and help our communities tap into the economic prize on offer.”
Ben Miller, senior policy manager at industry body Scottish Renewables, also welcomed the new Scottish Government publications and said they represented new foundations on which to develop Scotland’s tremendous offshore wind resource and deliver on Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy and net zero targets.
"The Scottish Government’s statement that 11GW of offshore wind deployment is possible by 2030 means there is much work to do, but this is a milestone moment for the decade ahead," he said.
"We are however disappointed that some areas in the draft Sectoral Marine Plan have not been taken forward at this stage.
"If we are to deliver on those stretching climate targets it’s imperative that we use every tool in our armoury and continue to work together to find creative solutions to the further deployment of the cheap, popular renewable energy technologies which are already delivering environmental and economic benefits across Scotland."
Brian McFarlane, co-chairman of the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council, which brings together the renewable energy sector and pubic agencies, commented: “Scotland's offshore wind resource is one of the best in the world and the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council is committed to its vision of an offshore wind sector that plays to Scotland’s strengths, delivering jobs, investment and export opportunities in line with the UK Sector Deal.
“Today’s announcements help achieve that by providing the policy certainty which developers and investors need to make plans for building the offshore wind farms of the future.
“The Scottish Government’s belief that the ambition for the Scottish offshore wind sector should be raised to 11GW by 2030, from 1GW today, sets a pathway for the sector which aligns with Scotland’s net zero ambitions, in which offshore wind will play a fundamental role.
“Industry and government must now work collaboratively together, alongside other users of the sea, to create a competitive, commercially-attractive offshore wind sector in Scotland which can deliver both domestically and in the global offshore wind market.”