Publication - Impact assessment

Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: social and economic impact assessment

Published: 18 Dec 2019
Marine Scotland Directorate
Part of:
Energy, Marine and fisheries

A social and economic impact assessment to support development of the draft sectoral marine plan for offshore wind energy.

316 page PDF

4.9 MB

Offshore wind energy - draft sectoral marine plan: social and economic impact assessment
1 Introduction

1 Introduction

1.1 Background

1.1.1 The Scottish Government is developing a plan for future commercial-scale offshore wind development in Scottish waters in the period to 2050. The plan builds on the previous draft plan for offshore wind published in 2013[2] and also seeks to provide opportunities for deep water wind technologies which may become commercially viable over this time period.

1.1.2 The geographical scope of the plan covers Scottish Waters (0-200 nautical miles, NM) (Figure 1). This includes Scottish Territorial Waters (0-12 NM) and the Scottish Marine Area (12-200 NM) which is executively devolved to Scottish Ministers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

Figure 1 Map of Scottish Marine Area

Figure 1 Map of Scottish Marine Area

1.2 Plan Development Process

1.2.1 The plan is being developed in accordance with Marine Scotland’s sectoral marine planning process (Figure 2). Once adopted, it is intended that the plan will be reflected in subsequent updates to Scotland’s National Marine Plan and in the preparation or revision of relevant Regional Marine Plans.

Figure 2 Marine Scotland's Sectoral Marine Planning Process

Figure 2 Marine Scotland’s Sectoral Marine Planning Process

1.2.2 An informal public consultation on the initial stages of development of the draft Plan was held in June 2018. This included consultation on the following scoping documents:

  • Context report[3];
  • Social and Economic Impact Assessment[4];
  • Habitats Regulations Appraisal[5];
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment[6];
  • Areas of Search Scoping report[7].

1.2.3 Currently the majority of offshore wind farms have been built using conventional fixed bottom substructure technology. The maximum depth considered economically and technically feasible for these to be installed is approximately up to 60 m of depth[8], although technological development may increase this. This depth requirement significantly limits the amount of seabed space that can be exploited. New technology like floating wind turbines attached to the seabed by chains and anchors can potentially open up new areas of sea as they are theoretically not limited by depth. The maximum depth considered for offshore deployment is considered to be around 800 m. Construction and deployment prices of floating foundations may eventually compete with those of fixed bottom technologies, if floating wind sees a similarly rapid cost reduction to that which has taken place in the fixed foundation wind industry.

1.2.4 In order to provide space for the potential development of conventional and deep water offshore wind options, the Areas of Search Scoping study considered the full range of water depths down to 800 m. Full details on the criteria applied in the development of the Areas of Search are provided in the Scoping report.

1.2.5 The Scoping report identified an initial 24 Areas of Search (AoS) (Figure 3) that could provide suitable locations for conventional and deep water wind options. These 24 AoS were subsequently reviewed and updated, resulting in the identification of 17 Draft Plan Options (DPOs) taken forward for further assessment (Figure 3 and reproduced to provide increased detail in a larger image in Figure 4). A full description of the process undertaken to identify the 17 DPOs is included in Section 1.3 below.

1.2.6 As part of the plan development process, draft Regional Locational Guidance (RLG) has been prepared[9] to provide a baseline for environmental, technical, socio-economic and planning issues in relation to the DPOs. The draft RLG grouped the DPOs into five broad geographic regions (South West, West, North, North East and East) (Figure 4).

Figure 3 AoS identified in the Scoping Report (left), and DPOs assessed in this report (right)

Figure 3 AoS identified in the Scoping Report (left), and DPOs assessed in this report (right)

Figure 4 Map of Offshore Wind Draft Plan Options and Regions

Figure 4 Map of Offshore Wind Draft Plan Options and Regions

Table 1 Offshore Wind Draft Plan Options

Region DPO Area (km²)
East E1 3,816
E2 1,287
E3 474
North East NE1 776
NE2 464
NE3 339
NE4 440
NE5 496
NE6 699
NE7 1,027
NE8 401
North N1 1,163
N2 560
N3 1,106
N4 200
West W1 1,107
South West SW1 292

1.3 Identification of Draft Plan Options

1.3.1 The sectoral marine planning process (as shown in Figure 2) is an iterative process, informed through stakeholder engagement and evidence from the related social, economic and environmental assessments. All of the information and consultation feedback gathered supports the Scottish Ministers in identifying DPOs to progress to the next phase of the plan process.

1.3.2 The DPOs have emerged through an examination of spatial data considerations in addition to advice and other related information provided by members of the Steering Groups and stakeholders.

1.3.3 The key stages of the planning process in relation to the identification of the DPOs, described in greater detail below, are:

  • Opportunity and Constraint (O&C) Analysis – Iteration 1;
  • Opportunity and Constraint (O&C) Analysis – Iteration 2 – Single Issue Constraint Analysis;
  • Scoping Consultation;
  • Opportunity and Constraint (O&C) Analysis – Iteration 3;
  • Identification of Draft Plan Options;
  • Next Steps.

Opportunity and Constraint (O&C) Analysis – Iteration 1

1.3.4 The identification of initial Areas of Search (AoS) was carried out through the use of an O&C analysis. It built upon previous work carried out by Marine Scotland Science in 2011 and the production of draft regional locational guidance for potential deep water floating offshore wind test sites in 2014. The analysis was iterative, so updates could be incorporated as required in order to reflect stakeholder feedback.

1.3.5 Full details of the O&C analysis can be found in the AoS scoping report published for consultation in 2018. The O&C analysis sought to identify areas of opportunity for the future development of offshore wind, whilst also identifying areas that minimised potential negative impacts to the environment, other sectors and users of the sea. This analysis was completed through the use of GIS and numerous spatial data resources.

Opportunity and Constraint (O&C) Analysis – Iteration 2

1.3.6 Sectoral engagement workshops were held in spring 2018. The AoS were then refined with consideration to specific spatial issues and feedback from the workshops.

1.3.7 This refinement process identified a range of distinct AoS (Figure 3). As the draft Plan is technology neutral, no commercial or technology-specific information was used in this refinement process.

Scoping Consultation – Screening and Scoping Reports

1.3.8 Scottish Ministers then consulted on the screening and scoping stages of the Plan process during June and July 2018. Screening and scoping reports were prepared and published online for the SEA, HRA and SEIA alongside the AoS scoping study.

Opportunity and Constraint (O&C) Analysis – Iteration 3

1.3.9 Iteration 3 of the O&C analysis was undertaken, which considered the responses received during the Scoping Consultation. For more details see the Consultation Analysis.

1.3.10 The AoS were refined with consideration to the outputs of the Iteration 3 O&C Analysis. As a result, certain AoS were either removed or refined to avoid/incorporate certain areas of Scottish Waters.

1.3.11 This stage also considered the areas of seabed proposed by stakeholders via the scoping consultation. A number of the areas proposed overlapped with existing AoS, while others overlapped with areas with higher levels of constraint or entirely new areas. This information was provided to Scottish Ministers to inform their decision on the selection of DPOs.

1.3.12 Upon review of the above information, Scottish Ministers identified areas to move forward in the plan process. It should be noted that some additional areas were included at this stage, where there was significant stakeholder interest, but also increased constraint. The Sustainability Appraisal stage will assess these areas in greater detail.

Identification and Assessment of Draft Plan Options

1.3.13 The 22 revised AoS were made available to the Sectoral Marine Plan Project Board and two Project Steering Groups for consideration and comment.

1.3.14 Responses from both the Board and Steering Groups, together with the outputs of the initial assessments, were presented to Scottish Ministers to inform their decision on which AoS should progress to the Sustainability Appraisal for more detailed assessment.

1.3.15 Seventeen revised AoS were selected as DPOs within the draft plan to be taken forward for more detailed assessment within the overall Sustainability Appraisal (Figure 4).

Next Steps

1.3.16 Following statutory consultation on the Draft Plan and accompanying Sustainability Appraisal, the responses received will be subject to consultation analysis. This analysis will be considered by Scottish Ministers’ and inform their decision on which Options to take forward in the Final Plan.

1.3.17 It should be noted that if significant changes are required as a result of the consultation feedback, further assessment and consultation may be required prior to adoption and publication of the Final Plan. The Post Adoption Statement (to be published with the Final Plan) will detail any changes made to the Plan as a result of consultation feedback.

1.4 Social and Economic Impact Assessment

1.4.1 The purpose of the social and economic impact assessment (SEIA), as part of the overall Sustainability Appraisal, is to identify and assess the potential economic and social effects of the draft plan on the lives and circumstances of people, their families and their communities. It considers the potential economic impacts (positive and negative), and their distribution among different groups, to inform the assessment of potential impacts on individuals, communities and society. Its scope addresses the impact of the plan as an additional impact to other existing or consented offshore wind development.

1.4.2 The assessment considers the impact of potential development under the draft plan within individual DPOs, as well as the potential cumulative positive and negative economic impacts, and associated potential social impacts, across the suite of DPOs and in combination with other planned projects.

1.5 Report Structure

1.5.1 This SEIA Report sets out the methodology used for the assessment of economic and social impacts and the key findings from the assessment.

1.5.2 The remainder of this report is structured as follows:

1.5.3 The Non-Technical Summary precedes Section 1. Further detailed information is provided in Appendices as follows: