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 under section 36 (EIA or non EIA development) or section 37 (EIA development) of the Electricity Act 1989 is to submit a pre-application form (available from the Energy Consents website under the heading “Pre-Application - Notification of New Project Form”). Following receipt of the form, a case officer will contact you to discuss your pre-application requirements - we endeavour to contact you within 21 days of receipt of the form.
Developers should also consider the pre-application and scoping advice published by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
How to apply
For more information see our guidance on how to apply.
How to support or object to an application
See our guidance on how to support or object to an application.
Application procedure and publicity requirements
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.
Good practice guidance for applications under section 36 and 37 of the Electricity Act
The Energy Consents Unit has published good practice guidance on the procedures for applications for onshore generating stations and overhead lines under sections 36 and 37 of the Electricity Act 1989. This guidance provides advice in particular for projects requiring an environmental impact assessment.
Section 37 of the Electricity Act 1989: overhead line applications without an EIA report
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.
Variation of section 36 consent
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 guidance
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.
View the Necessary wayleaves: application form and guidance (2022).
Guidance for applicants on using the design envelope for applications under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989
Marine Scotland and the Energy Consents Unit has published guidance for applicants on using the design envelope approach for applications under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 where flexibility is required in applications.
The current fee structure for applications under the Electricity Act came into force on 12 December 2022.
Details of the fees charged are provided by the Electricity (Applications for Consent and Variation of Consent) (Fees) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022.
A ready reckoner spreadsheet tool has also been made available to aid the calculation of fees.
Public notices in Gaelic
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.
The Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) applies to our processing of section 36, 36C and 37 applications. There are also planning advice notes focused specifically on renewable energy developments.
Energy developments on peat
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 lineselectricity infrastructure may impact on peat.
We have published peat landslide hazard best practice guidance which explains what is required. This applies to electricity generation developments (such as wind farms, hydro) and also overhead electric lines and their ancillary developments.
Community benefits from renewable energy developments
We recently revised our good practice principles on shared ownership and community benefits from renewable energy developments and published the updated guidance in May 2019.