Scottish Ministers are responsible for approving applications to build, operate or modify onshore electricity generating stations with capacities exceeding 50 megawatts, as well as all applications to install overhead power lines, large oil and gas pipelines, and associated infrastructure.
Applications concerning onshore electricity generating stations with capacities of 50 megawatts or less are approved by the local planning authority.
Applications concerning marine energy infrastructure, including sub-sea cables, wave, tidal and offshore wind electricity generating stations, are approved by Marine Scotland, which also provides guidance on monitoring watercourses in relation to onshore energy developments.
Energy consent applications and decisions are published and searchable on our Energy Consents website.
The first step for developers planning to submit an onshore application is to contact the Energy Consents Unit (Email: EconsentsAdmin@gov.scot) to arrange a pre-application meeting. Developers should also consider the pre-application and scoping advice published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
For more information see our guidance on how to apply.
See our guidance on how to support or object to an application.
Applicants should be satisfied they have met the requirements of all relevant legislation and regulations. We have produced guidance on the application procedure and publicity requirements.
Guidance on the process of applying for consent under section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989 for overhead line developments which do not require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report is available in energy consents: overhead line applications without an EIA report.
Certain electricity generating stations cannot be constructed, extended or operated without a section 36 consent.
Originally these consents could not be varied, however the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013 inserted section 36C into the Electricity Act 1989 which introduced a procedure for applications to vary section 36 consents, and for planning permission to be deemed in connection with such applications.
The Electricity Generating Stations (Applications for Variation of Consent) (Scotland) Regulations 2013 came into force on 1 December 2013, and enable variation applications to take place in a way that closely follows the existing rules for section 36 consent applications, and ensures the relevant provisions of the EIA Directive are implemented for section 36 variation applications as they are for section 36 applications for consent.
Updated guidance on the application process for section 36C variations has been published. Read: Energy consents: applications for variation of section 36 consents.
Necessary wayleaves are one way for electricity network operators to secure the right to run electric lines across land in cases where it is considered to be in the public interest, but they are unable to reach voluntary agreement with the owners and/or occupiers of the land in question.
The current fee structure for applications under the Electricity Act came into force on 30 June 2019.
Details of the fees charged are provided by the Electricity (Applications for Consent and Variation of Consent) (Fees) (Scotland) Regulations 2019.
When applying for consent in areas where Gaelic is predominantly spoken, it is good practice for developers to place all public notices regarding the development in both English and Gaelic languages. It is the developer’s responsibility to ensure the notices are worded correctly.
Developers are required to calculate potential carbon losses and savings from wind farms on Scottish peatlands. We have developed an online carbon calculator to enable them to do this, as well as a factsheet providing background information on the carbon calculator. Developers are also required to submit a peat landslide hazard risk assessment where the development of wind farms or overhead transmission lines may impact on peat. We have published peat landslide hazard best practice guidance which explains what is required.
We have established good practice principles on shared ownership and community benefits from renewable energy developments which are currently under review through a consultation process (January 2019).