Draft offshore wind policy statement: consultation

A consultation on the draft offshore wind policy statement.

The Current Position

The Scottish Government has supported and promoted a positive policy landscape for renewables, balanced by a rigorous environmental impact assessment regime. These supportive policies, coupled with the efforts of investors, innovators and communities across Scotland, have seen our renewable capacity grow to 11.6 GW, according to the most recent statistics[3] – with an estimated 76.3% of gross Scottish electricity consumption in 2018 capable of being met by renewable sources.

Ensuring Scotland’s long and positive association with renewables continues to go from strength to strength is a priority for the Scottish Government. Key to this is our people, and the Scottish Government is committed to enabling our local communities to participate in, and benefit from Scotland’s transition to net zero emissions.

We first published our Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Onshore Renewable Energy Developments in 2014, and further Good Practice Principles for Community Benefits from Offshore Renewable Energy developments in 2015, in collaboration with the renewables sector, setting out national standards on community benefits, which we encourage renewable energy businesses and communities to use.

Scotland’s expertise in wind energy planning and environmental impact assessment, supplemented by the transferable skills and experience gained across our highly efficient oil and gas sector, has resulted to date in the deployment of over 150 offshore turbines. These range from innovative test and demonstration sites, such as the 30 MW Hywind Scotland, right up to commercial scale, including the recently commissioned 588 MW Beatrice offshore wind farm. However, there is a strong development pipeline to come.

As of October 2019, the list of consented, operational and in-planning offshore wind projects in Scottish waters is as follows:

Name/ Location Status Consented Capacity (MW)
Neart na Gaoithe Consented 450
Seagreen (Firth of Forth 1) Consented 1,050
Inch Cape Consented 700
Moray Firth Western Development Area Consented 850
Forthwind OWF, Methil Consented 30
Moray East Under Construction 1,116
Kincardine Under Construction 50
Dounreay Tri Demonstration Project On hold 12
Robin Rigg Operational 174
Levenmouth Turbine Operational 7
Hywind Scotland Operational 30
EOWDC, Aberdeen Operational 93
Beatrice Operational 588
Beatrice Demonstrator Operational (decommissioning) 10
Firth of Forth 2 Planning 1,800
Firth of Forth 3 Planning 800

* Marine Scotland can provide further detail on specific projects and/or images if required. Development map to follow in due course.

Marine Scotland’s License and Operations Team is responsible for processing the necessary applications and licenses for offshore wind developments in Scottish waters.

Current statistics on the development pipeline, as of October 2019, demonstrate the known scale of deployment expected within Scotland in advance of the Draft Sectoral Marine Plan and ScotWind leasing round:

Status Total capacity (MW)
Operational 902
Construction 1,166
Consented 3,079
Planning/on hold 2,612
Total 7,760

Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy

Marine Scotland’s Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy (the draft Plan) is also being published in parallel with this document. The draft Plan sets out a strategic vision for future offshore wind energy development up to 2030 and beyond. It provides a spatial strategy to inform ScotWind seabed leasing for commercial offshore wind in energy in Scottish waters. The draft Plan:

  • Minimises the potential adverse effects on other marine users, economic sectors and the environment resulting from further commercial-scale offshore wind development; and
  • Maximises opportunities for economic development, investment and employment in Scotland, by identifying new opportunities for commercial-scale offshore wind development, including deeper water wind technologies.

The development process for the draft Plan, which identifies 17 “Draft Plan Options” (DPOs), has entailed significant stakeholder engagement and technical planning work to identify the most sustainable options for further offshore wind development (see the diagram below). We currently expect the draft Plan to be finalised and adopted in 2020, following this round of consultation. The Plan will be subject to iterative plan review, to ensure it remains up-to-date. The deployment of future projects will present an opportunity to gather further data and grow our understanding of offshore wind development in Scottish waters.

Draft Plan flowchart

The draft Plan consultation will run until March 2020, and all relevant and detailed documentation can be accessed on the Scottish Government website[4].

ScotWind Leasing

In November 2017, Crown Estate Scotland (“CES”) announced its intention to run a new leasing round for commercial-scale offshore wind energy projects in Scottish waters. Marine Scotland has therefore undertaken a spatial planning exercise to identify options for future leasing rounds.

This leasing process will provide a pipeline of new projects from the late 2020s onwards and provide an opportunity to introduce new companies to the UK market – boosting competition, driving innovation and unlocking new sources of investment.

While the Sectoral Marine Plans identifies areas of seabed considered suitable for future development, CES is responsible for administering the leasing system. CES will be able to lease areas of seabed located within the DPOs identified in the Sectoral Marine Plan (and any subsequent revised or amended Plans).

Offshore Wind Sector Deal and the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council

The UK Government published its Offshore Wind Sector Deal in March 2019. This document celebrated the success of offshore wind in the UK, and detailed specific actions to be undertaken by governments and industry, designed to promote and grow this sector.

The document included targets set by the industry, including improving representation of women and BAME in the sector, building early-stage skills and knowledge accessibility, and an aim to generate 30 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

The Scottish Government believes that a flourishing offshore wind sector in the UK both implies and requires a strong and well-developed sector in Scotland. To that end, the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC) has been formed, co-chaired by Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, and SSE’s Head of Offshore Project Development, Brian McFarlane.

SOWEC consists of subject-specific groups covering the following workstreams:

  • Developers
  • Skills
  • Supply Chain and Clusters
  • Innovation
  • Barriers to the Deployment of Projects and Route to Market

The work of SOWEC is designed to maximise the economic benefits to Scotland of offshore wind deployment in Scottish waters.

SOWEC Vision

An offshore wind sector which plays to Scotland’s strengths, delivering jobs, investment and export opportunities in line with the UK Sector Deal as a key part of the path to net-zero.


1. Deliver at least 8 GW of offshore wind in Scottish waters by 2030.

2. Create a competitive, commercially attractive offshore wind sector in Scotland which can deliver both domestically and in the global offshore wind market, with a focus on project development, deeper water capability and innovative technology solutions.

3. Work to increase local content in line with the ambitions set out in the UK Sector Deal, developing a sustainable, world class supply chain in Scotland.

4. Increase the number of offshore wind jobs in Scotland to more than 6,000, an increase of 75% on 2019 figures.

5. Develop a plan for offshore wind’s contribution to achieving Scotland’s climate change ambition of net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2045.

Consultation Questions

1. Does the current pipeline and level of activity in the offshore wind sector in Scotland provide a sufficient platform upon which to build the greater contribution required to achieve our climate change goals?

2. Do you believe that the 2030 visions and aspirations described above are sufficiently ambitious?

3. What actions do you believe should be taken by the Scottish Government, UK Government and agencies in order to realise the full potential of Scotland’s offshore wind sector?



Back to top