Offshore renewable energy: decommissioning guidance

Draft guidance to assist developers / owners in Scotland to understand their decommissioning obligations under the Energy Act 2004.

1. Introduction

1.1 Sections 105 to 114 of the Energy Act 2004 (as amended by the Energy Act 2008 and the Scotland Act 2016[1]) (“the Energy Act”) contain statutory requirements in relation to the decommissioning of offshore renewable energy installations and their related electricity lines. Under the terms of the Energy Act Scottish Ministers may require a person who is responsible for these installations or lines in Scottish Waters or in a Scottish part of a Renewable Energy Zone to prepare (and eventually carry out) a costed decommissioning programme for submission to and approval by Scottish Ministers. 

1.2 Scottish Ministers have developed this guidance in order to assist developers / owners in understanding their obligations under the Energy Act. The guidance covers the following:

a) The geographical scope of the decommissioning requirements as they apply in Scotland and the categories of installation / lines included within the Energy Act;

b) The process for submitting, getting approval for, reviewing and modifying a decommissioning programme submitted in accordance with the Energy Act;

c) The expected content of decommissioning programmes;

d) Decommissioning standards – the general requirement to remove installations and lines and any exceptions from this general requirement; how they are to be removed; how waste is to be dealt with; notification and marking of any remains; and monitoring, maintenance and management of the site after decommissioning;

e) Financial Security – the need for financial security and the forms of financial security which are acceptable;

f) Residual liability – the residual liability which remains with the owners following decommissioning; and

g) Industry cooperation and collaboration – the value of industry cooperation and collaboration at the decommissioning stage.

1.3 This guidance should be followed by developers and owners of offshore renewable energy installations and their related electric lines in Scottish waters or in a Scottish part of the Renewable Energy Zone[2], to which the Energy Act applies. The guidance may also be of interest to other stakeholders, including environmental organisations, navigational interests, the fishing industry and other users of the marine environment.

1.4 This is the first version of this guidance prepared on behalf of Scottish Ministers since the Scotland Act 2016 transferred responsibility for considering offshore renewable energy decommissioning cases in Scottish Waters to the Scottish Ministers. Future updates of this guidance will be carried out as necessary. Any comments on the content of this guidance, including suggestions for improving it, should be sent to:

Marine and Offshore Renewable Energy Branch
Marine Scotland 
4th Floor
Atlantic Quay
Glasgow G2 8LU




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