Onshore wind policy statement refresh - draft: consultation analysis

Analysis of the consultation responses received to the draft Onshore Wind Policy Statement between 28 October 2021 and 31 January 2022.

Chapter 5: Economic Opportunities

When referring to respondents who made particular comments, the terms 'a small number', 'a few' and so on have been used. While the analysis was qualitative in nature, as a very general rule of thumb it can be assumed that: 'a very small number' indicates around 2-3 respondents, 'a small number' indicates around 4-6 respondents; 'a few' indicates around 7 to 9; and 'some' indicates 10 or more but fewer than half of those who commented at any question. Where larger numbers of respondents are referred to, a 'significant minority' is 10-25% of respondents, a 'large minority' is denoted by 25-50% of respondents, and 50%+ is 'a majority'.

5.1. The consultation paper outlined a number of economic opportunities available to Scotland, either directly or indirectly, from the onshore wind industry. These included supply chain opportunities, manufacturing opportunities, refurbishment and recycling opportunities, development of capacity and skills within the workforce, tourism and cultural development and promotion of a diverse, inclusive industry.

5.2. Question 18 of the consultation asked:

Q18: What support do Scottish companies need from Scottish Government and agencies in order to successfully bid for and win contracts?

Summary (Q18)

  • Respondents voiced support to develop supply chains by way of both capacity and support for small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Reiterating previous answers, a more efficient windfarm consenting system was desired.
  • Further suggestions were made to build on good relationship-building practices, to reinvigorate otherwise declining industries with the manufacture of large scale windfarm infrastructure, help with bidding and help to meet accreditations.
  • There were also some views that Scottish companies do not need further support or that support should be given to rural or local communities impacted by windfarms.

5.3. A total of 66 respondents made comments at this question. The most mentioned aspect, from a large minority consisting of renewable energy organisations, local authorities and planners, and government funded bodies and regulators, was support to develop supply chains by way of both capacity and support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The best way of doing this, it was inferred, was to incorporate a strategic or national approach, specifically to ensure a reliable pipeline of projects is established to realise the targeted 12GW of extra onshore wind by 2030. Clear identification of opportunities was recommended, particularly in relation to aspects of the circular economy such as blade repurposing and refurbishment of components. That said, over half of these respondents maintained that development, construction and operations of wind farms already have a high proportion of local content, pinpointing strength in Balance of Plant (i.e. supporting components and auxiliary systems), with renewable energy organisations alluding to advantages of local inputs by way of minimising transport emissions and generating local economic benefits. A few respondents from across sub-groups but consisting of a majority of individuals advocated a mandatory proportion of minimum input from Scottish or UK businesses, or procurement process help in the form of subsidies or incentives to use local suppliers.

5.4. Reiterating previous answers, a significant minority of mainly renewable energy respondents desired a more efficient wind farm consenting system, with improvements by way of speed, cost, predictability, provision of enough planning officers and weight given to the socioeconomic impact of projects.

5.5. Smaller numbers of mainly renewable energy respondents cited the following measures to aid Scottish companies:

  • Building on good relationship–building practices, for example making available local supplier registers or company databases for developers to use or having 'meet the buyer' events. An example was suggested (by a local authority / planning body) to create an onshore equivalent of the DeepWind Cluster for Offshore Wind or the Open4Business portal that used to operate in the Highlands.
  • Having frequent CfD auctions, and reducing the threshold limit in future auction rounds to 300MW.
  • Opportunities to manufacture turbines, towers, electrical equipment and cabling in Scotland (e.g. by reinvigorating declining industries).
  • Help with bidding and tendering (e.g. provision of specialist advisors, help from the Enterprise network or Skills Development Scotland).
  • Help for SMEs and supply chain organisations to meet accreditations and certifications (e.g. relevant HSSE or other courses or policies required to work on a large infrastructure project).
  • A consistent and stable policy environment, to reduce risks.
  • Financial support to investors and developers to help with equipment purchasing and recruitment (e.g. from a Scottish Green Investment Bank).

5.6. A few renewable energy organisations cited a more competitive environment and pressure to drive costs down, such that any policy should take account of these factors as this situation acts as a constraint on limiting local content.

5.7. A significant minority of, mainly individual respondents maintained that Scottish companies should not get support or already had sufficient support; concerns were expressed about a perceived poor record of governmental success in supporting companies (e.g. Bi Fab, Campbeltown Windtowers). Similar numbers thought the focus should be on support being given to rural or local communities which are impacted, for instance giving communities more development resources where they are involved in wind farm developments.

5.8. Question 19 then asked

Q19: Should government consider options for introducing a sector deal similar to that of the Offshore Wind sector and if not, why is that your view?

Summary (Q19)

  • Respondents agreed more than disagreed that the government should introduce options for a sector deal, stating it would help support the realisation of environmental targets, have socioeconomic benefits, provide opportunities for a partnership approach between government and industry and provide certainty for stakeholders.
  • Development of the supply chain, standard setting for enhancement or restoration of biodiversity and tackling barriers to deployment such as the planning and consenting processes were advocated as part of the content of a deal.
  • Respondents not in favour of a sector deal preferred a focus on offshore wind.

5.9. A total of 72 respondents answered the first part of the question; as shown below two in five respondents agreed that the government should introduce options for introducing a sector deal, albeit nearly as many did not know while just under a quarter disagreed. A majority of the responding renewable energy and local authority/planners groupings were in favour of the proposal; half of the individual respondents were against.

Q19 Number
  Yes No Don't know No response
Acoustics (3) - - 1 2
Aviation specialist (5) - - - 5
Communities (18) 1 1 5 11
Governmental funded bodies & regulators (7) 3 - - 4
Legal (2) - - - 2
Lobby and interest groups (13) 2 1 - 10
Local authorities & planners (14) 6 - 5 3
Renewable Energy (43) 13 2 5 23
Third sector (e.g. Charities and other NGOs) (2) - - - 2
Other (4) - - 1 3
Total organisations (111) 25 4 17 65
Individuals (49) 4 13 9 23
Total respondents (160) 29 17 26 88

5.10. Fifty-seven respondents went on to answer the second part of the question, although despite the question terminology nearly half of these had agreed that the government should consider options for introducing a wind sector deal at the first part.

5.11. A significant minority, consisting almost entirely of renewable energy, local authority / planning and government-funded bodies, each provided the following reasons for introducing a sector deal as follows:

  • It would help support and realise environmental targets (e.g. the additional 12GW of onshore wind by 2030), financial targets for capital expenditure, and growth and biodiversity targets.
  • It would have socio-economic benefits (e.g. business benefits for local companies).
  • It would provide opportunities for a collaborative or partnership approach between government and industry (e.g. to develop details for the sector deal).
  • It would provide certainty for stakeholders (e.g. firm long term commitments giving the confidence for business to build infrastructure and supply chains).
  • It would provide a strategic framework for progress (as long as the sector deal is well formed).

5.12. Significant numbers across most sub-groups also advocated the following facets to be included as part of the content of an onshore wind sector deal:

  • Tackling barriers to deployment (e.g. those caused by the grid, aviation, lack of CfD auction frequency, visual landscape, landscape change and business rates).
  • Development of the supply chain (e.g. local content specification, circularity).
  • Standard setting for restoration or enhancement of biodiversity (e.g. principles around deploying HMPs).
  • Measures to speed up the planning and consenting process.

5.13. Small numbers of those in favour of a sector deal across most sub-groups also each desired content incorporating skills training and educational opportunities (e.g. for repairing and servicing), defining and identifying land areas which can be used for wind farm developments, and a review of wind farm community benefits. Small numbers of mostly government-funded bodies and regulators also commented positively about the UK Government's Offshore Wind Sector Deal, suggesting an onshore deal should be similar.

5.14. There were also a few recommendations from the renewable energy industry about how to form an onshore wind deal: in particular several of these were in favour of an Onshore Wind Prospectus discussion document, developed by collaboration with Renewables UK and Scottish Renewables, followed by the establishment of an Onshore Wind Strategic Leadership Group to develop the details, as the way forward. A small number of these respondents urged an accelerated timescale for setting the sector deal up, as the offshore equivalent took four years to establish.

5.15. Only a relatively small number of comments (mostly individuals and renewable energy respondents) were made giving reasons for not supporting an onshore wind sector deal; the largest numbers of these preferred a focus on offshore wind rather than onshore expansion. Small numbers of the same respondent groups thought it was not needed, citing a lack of benefits without elaborating; very small numbers (again from the same groups) each thought the benefits would only favour large developers at the expense of communities' rights, that it would not provide value for money and that it would be difficult to create, given the fragmented nature of onshore wind farm sizes, localities and land ownerships.

5.16. Question 20 went onto ask:

Q20: How can individual organisations (including onshore wind developers, tier 1 suppliers, and the domestic supply chain) work collaboratively to ensure that key manufacturing projects for Scottish onshore wind stays in Scotland?

Summary (Q20)

  • There were differences of opinion as to where the focus of manufacturing facilities and jobs in Scotland should be; firm commitments to onshore wind targets could encourage a business case for a turbine, blade and/or tower manufacturing facilities, whereas it may be more realistic to focus Scottish work on supply chain requirements with opportunities seen in high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, electrical and control equipment, battery manufacturing plants and generally smaller manufacturing.
  • Respondents recommended enforcing the use of local content, government intervention to create the necessary business ecosystems and a coordinated approach with the offshore wind and emerging tidal sectors to create a large scale of supply chain requirements.

5.17. A total of 64 respondents made comments at this question. Many of the main themes echoed those advocated at previous questions.

5.18. A large minority of respondents (almost all renewable energy) agreed that creating manufacturing facilities and jobs is the way to go to ensure that key manufacturing projects stay in Scotland, but there were considerable differences of opinion as to where the focus of these facilities and jobs should be. A firm commitment for 12 GW to give confidence about the market opportunity could be used to engage with an original equipment manufacturer on the business case for a Scottish turbine, blade and / or tower manufacturing facility according to several renewable energy organisations, with advantages of large scale job creation; but others felt that it would be more realistic to focus Scottish work on supply chain requirements with specific opportunities seen in high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology, electrical and control equipment, battery manufacturing plants and generally smaller ancilliary manufacturing.

5.19. A significant minority of renewable energy, communities' bodies and individual respondents advocated engaging domestic companies by enforcing the use of Scottish suppliers. A small number of respondents (mostly individual and local authority / planning) thought there should be a specified minimum proportion of local content, with suggestions for incentivising this by steering procurement policies to favour Scottish companies, tax incentives, or a point scale on marking tenders based on their proposed local, regional or national employment.

5.20. A significant number of (almost all renewable energy) respondents noted that developers already work closely with Tier 1 suppliers to maximise Scottish content or to overcome obstacles to investment decisions; areas with high levels of local content were mentioned including civil and electrical works, maintenance and servicing, albeit without mentioning manufacturing.

5.21. A consistent and clear approach to policies was again urged, particularly in regard to planning and the use of contemporary (larger) turbines.

5.22. Similar numbers of respondents from across most groups foresaw that governmental intervention or intervention at a national scale was needed; a need was seen to create the necessary business ecosystems which developers, Tier 1 suppliers and regional supply organisations cannot directly control.

5.23. A coordinated approach with the offshore wind and the emerging tidal sector was advocated by similar numbers of mainly renewable energy organisations. It was felt this would create a bigger scale of supply chain requirements thereby strengthening the supply chain investment case. It was suggested that lessons could be learned from the work undertaken by the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC) in this regard, to perhaps create an equivalent body for onshore wind.

5.24. A few respondents most from the renewable energy industry agreed that there should be more collaboration and partnership forming between the industry and other stakeholders, with specific mentions of Skills Development Scotland, ESP (formerly Energy Skills Partnership), Scottish Renewables, Chambers of Commerce, Business Gateway, industry federations and local renewable engineering and manufacturing firms. In particular a role was seen for the enterprise companies and local authorities.

5.25. Small numbers of mainly renewable energy respondents also suggested the following:

  • Creating regional or strategic hubs or clusters, for instance by expanding the two clusters created by the Offshore Wind Industry.
  • More Scottish ownership of wind farm developers.
  • Support for skills development and training.

5.26. A very small number of individuals felt pessimistic about manufacturing projects staying in Scotland, thinking that it was too late for this to happen and that large companies will inevitably use their own supply chains.

5.27. Question 21 asked:

Q21: Circular economy and zero-waste are core principles that the Scottish Government are promoting. Where do you see the economic opportunities in relation to these policy issues lying with onshore wind? And are there any practical issues you think need to be addressed in order to maximise the benefits?

Summary (Q21)

  • Opportunities were perceived from the recycling and refurbishment of turbines and their components, innovations, development and research into recycling facilities and from the repowering of sites.
  • Positive knock-on effects on local economic opportunities were foreseen.
  • Barriers included a lack of recyclability of turbine blades and windfarm foundations as well as general concerns over affordability and a lack of recycling infrastructure.

5.28. A total of 73 respondents replied to this question. A large minority from across all sub-groups gave their support to the circular economy and zero-waste principles. There was widespread recognition that these would help with the wind industry's carbon footprint and should be part of any development proposals and be part of the planning process.

5.29. Almost half of those answering the question, spread across all sub-groups, saw opportunities from recycling and refurbishment of turbines and their components. It was foreseen that there could be a lot of scope for growth in a home-grown recycling industry, noting current work already carried out by companies such as Renewable Parts and Reblade, and research being carried out by a Strathclyde University consortium into recycled material applications. It was perceived that there were high value materials such as steel, copper and rare earth metals to be recovered from turbines, though the fibreglass content in turbine blades presents a problem needing to be overcome.

5.30. A large minority of respondents from most sub-groups also cited opportunities relating to innovations, development and research into recycling facilities, with a view to making Scotland a world leader for solutions; there were suggestions that government, industry and the enterprise agencies should work together towards this aim.

5.31. Smaller but still significant numbers of respondents, particularly communities' bodies, saw opportunities arising from repowering of sites, particularly by way of reusing civil and on-site infrastructure and existing grid facilities to minimise new additional construction activities.

5.32. Positive impacts on local economic opportunities were also cited, by way of creating local jobs in the circular economy and helping to alleviate fuel poverty, with the Local Energy Bill mentioned as potentially being a key enabler for this.

5.33. Other opportunities each mentioned by small numbers of mostly individuals and renewable energy respondents were as follows:

  • Opportunities for a more home-grown turbine and turbine components production industry to help with the circular economy (with opportunities for developing recyclable turbine blades, components, wooden towers, etc.).
  • Partnership working and cross industry collaboration, and creation of synergies with other energy forms (e.g. between onshore and offshore wind technologies for components to be recycled for use in the latter, and with hydrogen and battery storage technologies).
  • Positive impacts of the circular economy on the supply chain (e.g. helping create an additional stream of suppliers).

5.34. Slightly fewer respondents, represented by all sub-groups, made comments relating to the second part of the question; those that did raised possible problems without (in general) suggesting solutions. The perceived lack of recyclability of turbine blades was the main practical issue raised, by a large minority of respondents from across most sub-groups. There was a desire to develop recyclability or reusability for blades with landfill seen as a major problem; there was a suggestion that in instances where repowering was taking place, smaller turbines including blades could be passed onto smaller community wind farms or to areas where modern larger turbines would be too big. A small number of mainly individual respondents cited further concerns related to the toxic plastic and microplastic content of blades which are unrecyclable and bad for the environment; requests were made for components to be made free from such plastics.

5.35. A variety of other practical issues and concerns were expressed by small number of respondents as follows:

  • General concerns over costs and affordability, with suggestions that incentives will be needed such as tax breaks and loans for circular economy businesses; amendments to the CfD auction process were also suggested as well as project viability potentially being impacted by a requirement to provide restoration bonds.
  • Concerns over whether a circular economy and zero waste is truly achievable, with points made about the quality of recycled goods not being the same as new, and toxic wastes being produced through mining overseas.
  • Practical concerns over the non-recyclability of wind farm foundations (e.g. concrete not being recyclable, with re-excavation perceived as having more environmental impact than non-recovery). Challenges over decommissioning wind farms in general were also cited.
  • Concerns over a lack of recycling infrastructure in Scotland (either at scale or for metals recycling).

5.36. A very small number of respondents from various sub-groups pointed out that extending the lives of wind farms could help as this would reduce the frequency of reuse or recycling of turbines or components.

5.37. A few respondents - mostly individuals and communities' groups - urged for profit not to be the driver of the circular economy, perceiving this tends to go overseas at the expense of local communities.

5.38. Question 22 then went onto ask:

Q22: How can the Scottish Government best support skills for the future of the onshore wind sector? Specifically we would be interested in oil and gas transition, apprenticeships and entry-level positions for young people, as well as any other experiences you can share.

Summary (Q22)

  • Respondents from all groups favoured apprenticeships with a view to getting practical experience.
  • Support was also expressed for university and graduate courses, technical and local colleges, the reskilling of oil and gas workers and those from other sectors, as well as general action for education promoting the onshore sector such as investment in STEM subjects.

5.39. Sixty-five respondents commented at this question. A large minority from most sub-groups welcomed Scottish Government support for skills, saying that government-funded education in the area should continue and be enhanced.

5.40. The largest proportion of respondents, a large minority from across all sub-groups, were in favour of apprenticeships, with comments supporting young people getting practical experience and recommendations for on the job provision from developers and a job guarantee for a period after apprenticeship provision.

5.41. Large minorities of respondents, again from across most groupings, also voiced support for the following actions on skills:

  • General support for education promoting the onshore wind sector (e.g. to encourage new entrants by investing in STEM subjects).
  • Support for university and graduate courses (e.g. ones incorporating industrial placements, such as those at Heriot-Watt and Strathclyde universities, etc.).
  • Support for the reskilling and upskilling of oil and gas workers, and those from other sectors such as the armed forces and automotive sector by way of more sector engagement and directed support.
  • Support for technical and local colleges and local opportunities for young people to learn technical and wind farm skills, e.g. suggested roles for Nigg Skills Academy, North Highland College, UHI, or to set up a dedicated Wind Energy College for Scotland.

5.42. Very small numbers of local authorities and planners recommended strong links to skills programmes with the offshore wind sector; and various sub-groups for putting monies from community benefit or shared ownership funds towards training schemes or supporting public transport to and from colleges.

5.43. A few mainly renewable energy respondents also saw a need for other ways to promote recruitment to the onshore wind sector. Prime amongst these were a call for better wages and salaries, noting these are currently below those earned by oil and gas workers. Other facets recommended to promote the industry to workers were the longevity and growth of the industry, environmental considerations and a perceived better work / life balance compared to working offshore.

5.44. A large minority from a range of sub-groups pinpointed a wide variety of roles and skill areas for which demand is predicted; there were several mentions of town and landscape planners, and smaller numbers of mentions for ecologists, ornithologists, engineers, fabricators, technicians, managers, R&D around retrofitting and repowering existing schemes, heavy lifting engineers and office staff as well as jobs in operations, maintenance and project management.

5.45. A significant minority of respondents from a broad range of groups wished to instil Just Transition principles in upskilling and reskilling, citing potential improvements in the diversity of the workforce.

5.46. Finally, a significant minority of individuals and communities' organisations were sceptical that onshore wind will replace jobs in the oil and gas sector, citing that fossil fuels will still be needed or that most jobs are only created during the initial development and construction phase of a wind farm.

5.47. Question 23 then asked:

Q23: Do you have any views on the impact of windfarms on tourism?

Summary (Q23)

  • Views were polarised. Those who said tourism has not been impacted said this was a consistent finding from research studies; furthermore, there were claims that windfarms themselves can be tourist attractions or enhance the tourism experience by way of visitor centres and greater access to the outdoors via windfarm access tracks.
  • Those who said tourism was negatively impacted cited concerns over ruined landscapes, the natural environment and visual impacts, saying that research paints a conflicting picture.
  • Other views were that tourism impacts depend on where windfarms are sited.

5.48. This question elicited the views of 110 respondents. Views were extremely polarised with the same numbers perceiving no or positive impacts (mainly renewable energy organisations) as those perceiving negative impacts (communities, lobby and interest groups, local authority and planners, and individuals).

5.49. A large minority of respondents, almost all of whom were renewable energy organisations, said there was no evidence of tourism impacts and that tourism (prior to Covid) was in a healthy state, saying this was a consistent finding from research studies, for instance that tourism in local authority areas which have had the largest increases in onshore wind farms has performed just as well as in other areas. A significant minority of respondents (almost all of whom were again renewable energy organisations) referred to the Biggar Economics report Onshore Wind and Tourism in Scotland which concluded that there was no evidence of a link between wind farm development and trends in tourism employment (employment in tourism increased by 20% from 2009-2019 despite turbines increasing from 1082 to 3772 in the same period).

5.50. Furthermore, a large minority of particularly renewable energy respondents claimed that wind farms themselves are tourist attractions or can enhance the tourism experience. Examples were provided as follows:

  • Opportunities for wind farm visitor centres.
  • Greater access to walking, cycling, running spaces and local recreation via wind farm tracks.
  • Possibilities of synergies with other initiatives e.g. the North Coast 500.
  • Promotion of energy history and Scotland's climate action attributes.
  • Community benefit funds contributing to tourism-related projects.

5.51. Amongst the large minority of mainly individual, local authority / planning, communities and lobby and interest respondents who said tourism was negatively affected by wind farms, most were concerned about ruined landscapes, the natural environment and visual impact issues, with a few mentions that the draft OnWPS should pay this more attention. A small number of mostly individuals commented on tourism numbers and income declining, with South-West Scotland specifically mentioned in this regard.

5.52. A large minority from across most sub-groups queried the results of research and identified a need for definitive assessments and methodology. Different reports have had different conclusions thus painting a conflicting picture, according to these respondents. Very small numbers of mostly individual respondents pointed to research as showing that tourism has been negatively impacted, or perceived survey results as misleading.

5.53. Finally, there was a large minority of respondents from most sub-groups who thought the impact on tourism from wind farms depends on where they are sited. These respondents urged that strict controls on sites should be taken using an evidence-based planning approach, particularly for very large wind farms. Avoiding building developments in tourist or national park areas was recommended, with attention paid to the local authority planning landscape and sensitivity and capacity studies.

5.54. Question 24 asked:

Q24: What is your organisation doing specifically to promote diversity and inclusion in the onshore wind sector?

Summary (Q24)

  • Most respondents stated a commitment to diversity and inclusion in their workforce, with equal opportunities employment and workplace policies largely in place.

5.55. Only 37 respondents answered this question. A majority consisting of mostly renewable energy respondents stated a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workforce, for example through communications, updates and goal setting for a minimum proportion of minority groups. A large minority (again consisting mostly of renewable energy respondents) said they had an equal opportunities employment and workplace policy, with promotion of opportunities irrespective of background. A few (almost all renewable energy respondents) stated that they had implemented or were implementing an equality, diversity or inclusion strategy or plan throughout their organisation.

5.56. Examples of other specific actions were mentioned by just under half of the respondents, and these included:

  • Promoting gender neutral language.
  • Highlighting barriers faced by women.
  • Support for faith groups.
  • Consistency with delivering a Just Transition (e.g. fair / decent jobs) to net-zero carbon.
  • Provision of facilities for the disabled.
  • Diversity and inclusion training for managers.
  • STEM subject ambassadors or outreachers at schools and for those returning to work.
  • Expecting equality of opportunity from suppliers.
  • Mental health support for staff.
  • Supporting remote or flexible working practices or a family-friendly approach.

5.57. Finally, there were a very small number of complaints about developers in general excluding rural and local communities from benefits.

5.58. The final question in this section of the consultation paper asked:

Q25: Given the significant contribution onshore wind is expected to make to our net-zero ambitions, and the structure of the ScotWind process for offshore development, should Supply Chain Development Plans be introduced for onshore wind developments in Scotland?

Summary (Q25)

  • Roughly equal numbers were for and against SCDPs being introduced, though most did not know.
  • Those in favour felt that SCDPs would help the growth of companies in Scotland's supply chains through preferential opportunities to tender for work and benefits from increased sector scale.
  • Those against urged that SCDPs be reserved for offshore development only and foresaw a lack of benefits due to the fragmentation of the onshore industry and developers already having supply chains in place.

5.59. As the following table shows, among the 71 respondents who replied to the first part of the question, slightly fewer were in favour of Supply Chain Development Plans (SCDPs) being introduced for onshore wind developments than were not in favour; however the greatest numbers of respondents said they did not know. More renewable energy sector respondents were not in favour than in favour, but government funded bodies and regulators and local authorities and planners who voiced an opinion were all in favour.

Q25 Number
  Yes No Don't know No response
Acoustics (3) - - 1 2
Aviation specialist (5) - - - 5
Communities (18) 2 2 3 11
Governmental funded bodies & regulators (7) 2 - - 5
Legal (2) - - - 2
Lobby and interest groups (13) 2 1 - 10
Local authorities & planners (14) 4 - 6 4
Renewable Energy (43) 4 8 7 24
Third sector (e.g. Charities and other NGOs) (2) - - - 2
Other (4) - 1 1 2
Total organisations (111) 14 12 18 67
Individuals (49) 6 10 11 22
Total respondents (160) 20 22 29 89

5.60. A total of 55 respondents gave open-ended answers to the question. Amongst those who responded positively to the idea, the greatest numbers, a significant minority across most sub-groups said that Supply Chain Development Plans would help the growth of companies in Scotland's supply chains; advantages foreseen included being given preferential opportunities to tender for work, scaling up benefits, cost reductions, supply chain robustness, skills development and increased refurbishment work and minimisation of waste. Very small numbers of mostly renewable energy respondents pointed out that other schemes such as ScotWind and Warmer Homes Scotland (efforts to promote renewables installers) have worked and suggested that the Plan should be aligned closely with the whole range of energy options, including those in the rest of the UK.

5.61. Small numbers of (mostly individual or renewable energy) respondents were favourable towards Supply Chain Development Plans (SCDPs) as long as:

  • Onshore wind developments are sensibly situated.
  • Sustainability and embodied carbon impacts are considered.
  • There are measurable outcomes (e.g. a transparent scoring system giving a level for community benefits per MW installed).

5.62. Amongst the slightly larger number of respondents who were not favourable towards Supply Chain Development Plans, a significant minority, almost all of whom were renewable energy or individual respondents, urged that these be reserved for offshore development only, where it was considered that a greater amount of supply chain development is needed. Similar numbers, of almost entirely renewable energy respondents, foresaw a lack of materially positive impacts on the supply chain, as onshore wind farms are too small and fragmented by nature to influence the size of supply chains, and developers have supply chains already in place, much of this with local suppliers.

5.63. Other negative reasons were highlighted by small numbers of mainly renewable energy respondents as follows:

  • It is better for industry and the Scottish Government to work together to identify the most effective mechanism for ensuring high levels of local content and a thriving supply chain.
  • It would create a significant additional burden on the sector, as delivering on commitments is a long, resource intensive administration burden, which will not reduce costs and might reduce the number of projects.
  • It is better to have a consented portfolio or critical mass of developments for long term planning.
  • It will not positively contribute to net-zero ambitions (e.g. new wind farms hardly displace non-renewable energy as most energy in Scotland already comes from renewable sources).
  • The market for onshore turbines is too mature for new local entrants.

5.64. There were also a few queries as to the weight of SCDPs in planning, and a few comments which noted that supply chain statements also exist within the CfD bidding system – a UK Government mechanism.


Email: onshorewindpolicy@gov.scot

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