Publication - Progress report

Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters: Socio - Economic Assesment

Published: 25 Jul 2013
Part of:
Marine and fisheries

The study reported here provides a high level socio-economic appraisal of the potential costs and benefits to activities that may arise as a result of offshore wind, wave or tidal development within the Draft Plan Options as part of possible future Scotti

383 page PDF

4.7 MB

383 page PDF

4.7 MB

Draft Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy in Scottish Waters: Socio - Economic Assesment
C6. Energy Generation

383 page PDF

4.7 MB

C6. Energy Generation

C6.1 Scoping Results

The results of the scoping assessment are presented in Table C6.1 (Offshore Wind), Table C6.2 (Wave) and Table C6.3 (Tidal) and indicate whether more detailed assessment is required (Y/N).

Table C6.1 Offshore Wind

North North-East South-West West North-West
Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas for different technologies >10% of combined Draft Plan Option areas Y N N N Y N Y N Y N
Competition for transmission capacity Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Table C6.2 Wave

North West North-West
Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas for different technologies >10% of combined Draft Plan Option areas N Y N Y N N N Y
Competition for transmission capacity Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

Table C6.3 Tidal

North South-West West
Spatial overlap between Draft Plan Option areas for different technologies >10% of combined Draft Plan Option areas N N N N N N N Y N N
Competition for transmission capacity Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y

C6.2 Assessment Results - Estimation of Costs and Benefits

Renewable UK were unable to comment on the methodology at the time of consultation due to the short deadlines imposed by the project.

C6.2.1 Qualitative Assessment of Competition for Space

Scottish Renewables welcomed the recognition that there is a possible impact between renewable sectors. Monetising the degree of impact was considered an extremely difficult challenge, however, Scottish Renewables considered that the fact that offshore wind and marine energies are not established industries is fundamental to the potential degree of impact. Early arrays are essential to the development of the industry as a whole, helping to erode potential future impacts. Any further assessment of spatial overlap will depend on the specific technologies to be deployed at the site, and a more detailed analysis of resource, constraints and development layout at a site specific level.

Scottish Renewables noted the possibility of negative impacts, stemming from developments looking to deploy in the same area within the Draft Plan Option areas, or from separate developments within the Draft Plan Option areas sterilising the resource of another technology type.

The possibility of co-location will also depend on the specific technology types to be deployed in the area. Scottish Renewables, for example, suggested that any issues between Draft Plan Option areas OWSW1 and TSW1 would be minimal due to the fact that fixed tidal may well be able to co-exist with offshore wind. They also noted that there may be more challenges and a higher risk of negative impact with floating wave and offshore wind devices (as wind structures may affect the wave resource). This may be the case for Draft Plan Option areas OWN1 and WN2, OWW3 and WW4 and OWW1 and WW1 ( Figure B6). However, Scottish Renewables highlighted that deploying offshore wind developments in high tidal and wave energy environments can be challenging therefore this may reduce the risk of wind developments overlapping with wave and tidal developments.

Another risk relating to the environmental carrying capacity of a region and increased consenting risk due to cumulative impacts was raised by Scottish Renewables. However, it is understood that cumulative environmental impacts will be assessed through the Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA) and Habitats Regulations Assessment ( HRA) process.

C6.2.2 Qualitative Assessment of Competition for Transmission Capacity

The National Electricity Transmission System Seven Year Statement (National Grid, 2011) indicates that there is likely to be a need for new infrastructure/reinforcement in many areas of Scotland to ensure that generated power can be transmitted to where it is required. There are also issues with congestion in the power transmission network between the North and the South of the UK (National Grid, 2011).

A key conclusion of the Scottish Government's Electricity Generation Policy Statement ( EGPS) is that transmission constraints would be a significant factor in ensuring that renewable energy produced in Scotland is properly utilised. However, plans exist to increase the capacity of power interconnections from Scotland. In 2012 Ofgem announced the 'fast tracking' of plans for over £7billion investment in Scotland's high voltage transmission network by 2021. This £7 billion investment to upgrade Scotland's electricity grid will boost capacity and bring new renewables developments on stream by connecting and transporting energy across Scotland and to other markets (Scottish Government, 2012).

The Scottish Government is part of the Electricity Networks Steering Group ( ENSG), led by DECC and Ofgem, which in February 2012 published a Vision for 2020 report highlighting the necessary range of grid development and reinforcement. The report reconfirms the scale of the need for reinforcement across Scotland; reiterates how important these grid upgrades will be to meeting Scotland's renewables ambitions; and improves the capability on Scotland's main interconnector assets by adding around a further 3 GW of import and export capacity in central Scotland, therefore strengthening security of supply and system stability as the generation portfolio moves to a greater balance of renewable energy sources ( ENSG, 2012). Based on the above developments, it is therefore likely that the future trend in transmission capacity will be upwards.

Consultation was undertaken with Scottish Renewables to explore the specific Draft Plan Option areas in which competition for transmission capacity was likely to occur. Scottish Renewables were able to confirm that adjacent or overlapping projects may actually have a positive effect by providing critical mass to justify grid investment. Grid liabilities present a challenge for many offshore projects therefore a collaborative approach may help to ease burdens.

Scottish Renewables response to this study indicates that there is the hope that energy generation companies can collaborate rather than compete on grid connection to ensure economies of scale are achieved. This is likely to be critical given that the best sources of renewable energy are typically located at the edges of the current grid network, rather than the centre.

However, Scottish Renewables also noted that indicative cable routes on the west coast would potentially connect into Dalmally and Hunterston substations ( Figure B6). If there is capacity at these locations for additional projects, there could be competition for suitable landing locations that meet all the technical and environmental criteria the developer must consider. A shortage of suitable locations could lead to cables being brought onshore several kilometres from the connection point, thus significantly increasing the scope, costs and consenting risks of the onshore transmission works being developed.

Therefore, when determining Draft Plan Option areas for further development, the financial and consenting risks associated with grid capacity, the location of connection points with spare capacity and availability of suitable landing points should all be considered.

C6.2.3 Data Limitations

Offshore renewables are not established industries and therefore it is difficult to determine their interactions with each other and the degree to which any spatial overlap will affect energy generation.

The future of transmission capacity has been based on National Grid and the Scottish Government's future projections for investment and improvement works, however, it is not known exactly where or when these developments will occur.

C6.2.4 Summary

Specific technologies to be deployed within Draft Plan Option areas will determine the degree of impacts associated with spatial overlap of sites. However, in most instances sensitive site development and constructive dialogue between developers will enable technologies to co-exist.

Adjacent or overlapping projects may have a positive effect on transmission capacity by providing critical mass to justify grid investment. However, costs may arise through competition for suitable landing sites close to connection points with spare capacity. Given the uncertainties at this stage, it is not possible to quantify potential cost impacts.

C6.3 References

ABPmer and RPA, 2012. Socio-economic Baseline Reviews for Offshore Renewables in Scottish Waters. Report for Marine Scotland. September 2012.

Allan, G., McGregor, P.G., Swales, J.K. and Turner, K., 2006. Impact of alternative energy generation technologies on the Scottish economy: an illustrative input-output analysis, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Vol. 221 Part A: J. Power and Energy, pp243-254.

Baxter, J.M., Boyd, I.L., Cox, M., Donald, A.E., Malcolm, S.J., Miles, H., Miller, B., Moffat, C.F., (Editors), 2011. Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for the national marine plan. Marine Scotland, Edinburgh. pp. 191

Black, K., 2011. Macroalgae for energy: What's going on in Scotland and Chile? Presentation to The Crown Estate, 31 March 2011.

ENSG, 2012. Our Electricity Transmission Network: A Vision for 2020. February 2012.

FRM, 2010. A review of initiatives and related R&D being undertaken in the UK and internationally regarding the use of macroalgae as a basis for biofuel production and other non-food uses relevant to Scotland. Report commissioned by the Marine Scotland, 79pp.

National Grid, SP Transmission and SSE Power Distribution, 2004. Interim Great Britain Severn Year Statement, November 2004, available from the National Grid Internet site (

National Grid, 2012. Electricity Ten Year Statement. November 2012.

Public Interest Research Centre on behalf of The Offshore Valuation Group, 2010. The Offshore Valuation, A valuation of the UK's offshore renewable energy resource. Report available from the Offshore Valuation Group Internet site (

Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, and Scottish Enterprise, 2011. Scottish Offshore Renewables Development Sites, West Coast Cluster, available from the Scottish Development International Internet site (

Scottish Enterprise & Highlands & Islands Enterprise, 2010a. National Renewables Infrastructure Plan. February 2010.

Scottish Enterprise & Highlands & Islands Enterprise, 2010b. National Renewables Infrastructure Plan Stage 2. July 2010.

Scottish Executive, 2005. Scotland's Renewable Energy Potential: realising the 2020 target, Future Generation Group Report 2005, available from the Scottish Government Internet site (

Scottish Government, 2011. 2020 Routemap for Renewable Energy in Scotland, available electronically on the Scottish Government Internet site (

Scottish Government, 2012. Electricity Generation Policy Statement. March 2012.

Verso Economics, 2011. Worth the Candle? The Economic Impact of Renewable Energy Policy in Scotland and the UK, March 2011, available from the Verso Economics Internet site (