We oversee the building and maintenance of energy infrastructure in Scotland and ensure it is sufficient for meeting the needs of citizens and businesses. As part of this we process applications for consent from developers wishing to build and operate electricity generating stations or install overhead power lines.
We are managing energy infrastructure in Scotland by:
- working with partners to improve the electricity grid
- determining whether to grant or refuse applications for consent to build and operate electricity generating stations or install overhead power lines
- supporting the ambition of a public energy company offering retail energy supply by the end of this current Parliament (March 2021)
Scotland has significant energy infrastructure that makes a large contribution to the UK’s overall energy consumption.
The majority of the UK’s oil production and around half of its gas production comes from fields based in the continental shelf around Scotland.
In addition, Scotland has an estimated 60 gigawatts of renewable energy resources: equivalent to three quarters of the UK’s installed electricity-generating capacity.
Bills and legislation
The Electricity Act 1989 gives powers to Scottish Ministers for the determination of applications for electricity infrastructure.
- applications to construct, extend and operate onshore electricity generating stations exceeding 50 megawatts capacity are made to Scottish Ministers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.
- applications to vary existing consents which were granted under section 36 are made under section 36C of the Electricity Act 1989.
- applications for overhead lines are made under section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989.
Such electricity infrastructure applications and decisions are published and searchable on our Energy Consents website.
The following regulations apply to applications made under section 36, section 36C and section 37 and should be noted by developers:
- The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017
- The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2017
- The Electricity (Applications for Consent) Regulations 1990
- The Electricity (Applications for Consent) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2013
- The Electricity Generating Stations (Applications for Variation of Consent) (Scotland) Regulations 2013
When granting consent under section 36, 36C or section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989, Scottish Ministers may, under section 57 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, direct that planning permission is deemed to be granted.
In relation to land and access rights for electricity infrastructure, ministers also process applications for necessary wayleaves and compulsory purchase orders.
The following regulations apply to applications for pipelines, and related requests for compulsory purchase orders and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening and scoping opinions:
- The Pipe-lines Act 1962
- The Gas Act 1986
- The Public Gas Transporter Pipe-Line Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 1999
- The Offshore Petroleum Production and Pipe-lines (Environmental Impact Assessment and other Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2017