Natural Environment Minister
Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands
Earlier this year, Scotland became one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the fact that we are facing a global climate emergency and the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 contains some of the most ambitious statutory emissions reduction targets anywhere in the world.
The Committee on Climate Change advice to the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments (published 2 May 2019) highlights the role that offshore wind can play in helping Scotland and the UK achieve 'net zero' by 2050 or earlier.
Scotland has significant potential for further offshore wind development, with a large proportion of Europe's estimated offshore wind resources. In particular, our deeper waters offer tremendous potential for future offshore wind development and innovation. Exploiting offshore wind technology in an environmentally sustainable way will enable Scotland to lead the world in the transition to the low carbon economy over the next four decades and offers huge industrial and economic potential for Scotland.
The further development of offshore wind in Scotland, however, is not without challenges, which we will need to work together to address. It is essential that our marine resources are appropriately managed, if we are to realise the significant potential for renewable energy generation our seas can offer, whilst protecting the natural goods and services our marine environment provides for both current and future generations to enjoy.
The draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy ("the draft Plan") is our vision for future offshore wind energy development up to 2030 and beyond. The draft Plan seeks to maximise the benefits for Scotland, our communities and our people, striking a balance between economic, social and environmental needs. Our marine environment is perhaps our greatest natural asset and we believe that the draft Plan provides a clear route to support further sustainable offshore wind development in Scotland which supports our transition to a low carbon economy.
This draft Plan builds on previous sectoral marine planning exercises undertaken in 2011 and 2013 and the Scottish Government has worked with a wide range of stakeholders during the development of this draft Plan in order to identify the most sustainable options for further commercial-scale offshore wind development in Scottish waters. This consultation seeks your views on these draft Plan Options before we look to finalise and adopt the final version of the Plan in 2020 and we look forward to hearing your views on our draft Plan over the coming months.