Policy actions  1 of 3

Offshore wind energy

Scotland has a great deal of potential offshore wind resources. Its strong offshore winds provide the ideal conditions for technology which can harness this powerful resource. The east coast seabed has been identified as a particularly suitable location for the development of offshore wind due to the gently shelving nature of the seabed. However, there has been an emergence of deeper water offshore technology which can help secure the sustainable development of deeper waters both in the east and west of the country.

Scotland is home to the world’s first floating wind farm (Hywind) around 30KM from Peterhead and the Beatrice project, in the Moray firth recently became the largest operational offshore wind project in Scotland. Scotland has in excess of 4.5 GW of offshore wind projects consented on the east coast and a new leasing round for offshore wind was announced by Crown Estate Scotland in 2017.  The planning process for that round is ongoing and leasing is expected to begin in 2020.

Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy

In November 2017 Crown Estate Scotland announced its intention to run a further leasing round for commercial-scale offshore wind energy.  In accordance with the Scotland’s National Marine and in our capacity as planning authority for Scotland’s seas, the spatial locations for this and any future leasing round will be identified through a sectoral marine planning process, completed by Marine Scotland.

Consultation on the initial scoping work to identify Areas of Search and the statutory assessment criteria was held between June and July 2018.  Responses from that consultation have helped develop the planning process and a draft Sectoral Marine Plan for offshore wind energy was consulted upon from 18 December 2019 until 25 March 2020.  

The draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy aims to identify the most sustainable options for the future development of commercial-scale offshore wind energy in Scotland and is supported by detailed assessments of the potential impact of the draft Plan.  This includes a Strategic Environmental Assessment, Habitats Regulations Appraisal, Social and Economic Impact Assessment, Regional locational Guidance and several smaller assessments.  For more information, the draft Plan and assessments are available online and the full consultation can be found online at Citizen Space

The draft Plan is expected to be adopted later in 2020 and will allow the Leasing process, managed by Crown Estate Scotland to close shortly following formal adoption of the final Plan.

Previous Offshore Wind Initiatives

Blue Seas - Green Energy: A Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters

Our vision for developing offshore wind energy up to and beyond 2020 was launched in the two-part publication Blue Seas - Green Energy: A Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish Territorial Waters (2011).

This publication was developed following a successful consultation and informed by a substantial evidence base of possible social and environmental interactions with offshore wind development.

Three projects delivered from Blue Seas – Green Energy have now progressed through the consenting process. Inch Cape and Neart na Gaoithe are both located in the Forth and Tay region whilst Beatrice, in the Moray Firth, was the first of these projects to be built (2019).

Two other projects, delivered through the UK SEA 2 process have also progressed through the consenting process. Moray East and West are located in the Moray Firth while SeaGreen is located farther offshore in the Forth and Tay Region.

Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Wind (2013)

In 2013, a Draft Sectoral Plan for progressing ten medium-term option areas was developed and published for consultation. In December 2014, Scottish Ministers decided not to progress two of the option areas located in South West Scotland and these were removed from the draft Plan.  This Plan remains to be finalised. This was due to market uncertainty created by Electricity Market Reform at the time.

The 2013 draft Plan Options are included in the National Marine Plan and more information on that sectoral planning process is available alongside the supporting environmental assessments and consultation analysis.