Scotland’s new offshore capabilities

Scotland’s new offshore capabilities

Crown Estates Scotland has published a paper which includes a draft leasing process to encourage new offshore wind farms in Scotland’s waters claiming that it is necessary to ensure new projects are built from to second half of the 2020s and beyond. The estate says it aims to support innovation, create jobs and stimulate economic growth with any money that it raises from offshore renewables being passed to the Scottish government for public spending.

Two offshore wind farms – Robin Rigg and Hywind Scotland – are already operating in Scottish waters. A further two are being built – the Beatrice project in the Moray Firth and the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre, off Aberdeen.

However, it can take up to ten years to develop and construct a new offshore wind project, meaning that new projects from the 2020s onwards have to be planned now.

John Robertson, senior energy and infrastructure manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said: “Using our seas to power Scotland is an important part of our economic and environmental well-being.

“To provide affordable, secure and clean energy, Scotland must continue to sustainably use its natural resources and grow the offshore wind sector.”

Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish environment secretary, welcomed the publication of the Crown Estate Scotland’s document.

“The potential benefits of offshore renewable energy to Scotland are enormous,” she said.

“That is why it is important that Crown Estate Scotland makes available the right seabed locations at the right time, in order to contribute to delivery of our energy strategy, attract inward investment, develop new technology and continue to drive down the associated costs of offshore energy.”

The UK government’s energy minister, Claire Perry, said 15% of UK electricity came from wind last year – up from 3% in 2010.

“As technology costs come down, this will enable renewables to flourish,” she added. “The opening up of more seabed areas for new offshore wind projects is another step towards achieving our low cost, low carbon future.”

The move was also welcomed by industry body Scottish Renewables.

Its senior policy manager, Fabrice Leveque, said: “The offshore wind projects which are currently being developed in Scotland are already providing enormous economic benefits to our country.

“The Beatrice scheme in the Moray Firth, for example, will deliver up to £1.2bn into the UK and Scottish economy via employment and supply chain opportunities during its lifetime.

“Crown Estate Scotland’s proposals set the tone for the future of this vibrant sector. New sites would allow us to capture more of our offshore wind resource and enable Scotland’s burgeoning offshore wind supply chain to gear up and grow, delivering jobs and investment not just on our coasts, but across the country.”

With high wind speeds and new technology such as floating wind turbines now available it makes sense for the Crown Estates to open up Scotland’s offshore to new renewable energy projects.

The continued development of new renewable energy projects will help decrease our carbon emissions and achieve our reduction targets.

Despite offshore wind power being traditionally more expensive than onshore as the technology has become more widespread the cost has been coming down. At the same time the efficiency of the developments has increased dramatically and, as mentioned above, new ideas and concepts have come to the fore.

In Scotland our renewable energy resources are plentiful and it would be wrong not to utilise them to the best of our ability. New offshore wind developments will help harness some of these resources which benefits everyone.



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