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

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

C10. Power Interconnectors

C10.1 Scoping Results

The results of the scoping assessment are presented in Table C10.1 (Offshore Wind), Table C10.2 (Wave) and Table C10.3 (Tidal) and indicate whether more detailed assessment is required (Y/N).

Table C10.1 Offshore Wind

North North-East South-West West North-West
Draft Plan Option areas intersect proposed interconnectors N N N N N N N N N N
Spatial overlap between cable routes and proposed interconnectors N Y N N N

Table C10.2 Wave

North West North-West
Draft Plan Option areas intersect proposed interconnectors N N N N N N N N
Spatial overlap between cable routes and proposed interconnectors N N N

Table C10.3 Tidal

North South-West West
Draft Plan Option areas intersect proposed interconnectors N N N N N N N N N N
Spatial overlap between cable routes and proposed interconnectors N N N

C10.2 Assessment Results - Estimation of Costs and Benefits

C10.2.1 Intersections with Proposed Interconnectors and Cable Crossings

The proposed UK-Norway NorthConnect Interconnector was the only future interconnector identified which was due for completion after 2018. Although landfall sites have been identified as Sandford Bay, Peterhead (Aberdeenshire) and Sima or Samnanger in Norway, the final cable route is not yet confirmed, although an indicative route is shown in Figure C10 [28] .

Based on this indicative cable route, this assessment suggests that it is unlikely that the NorthConnect interconnectors will intersect with any Draft Plan Option area in the North East SORER but there is the potential for intersection with the export cable corridors from the wind Draft Plan Option areas OWNE1 and OWNE2.

The standard industry cost of cable crossings is £0.5-£1million ( ODIS, 2011) and this assessment has assumed that this cost will be transferred to the renewables developer if the interconnector is consented prior to the assumed lease agreement date for export cable corridors (2020).

However, concerns relating to cable crossing agreements were highlighted by the industry consultation, specifically in relation to whether cable crossing agreements will cover future liability. Meetings are currently being held with regulators in England to ascertain the stance on cable crossings, compensation and consequential compensation and this issue is likely to need to be similarly addressed in Scottish Waters.

C10.2.2 Increased Difficulty of Access to Existing or Future/Proposed Interconnectors at Crossing Points

In addition to the above concerns relating to cable crossings, where there are multiple cables in close proximity, it is likely to become more difficult to retrieve cables for maintenance. Furthermore, where maintenance is required in the vicinity of cable crossovers, this is likely to preclude maintenance techniques which involve cable retrieval. Instead, more expensive maintenance methods will be required, potentially relying on the use of divers or Remote Operated Vehicles ( ROVs). These methods will be significantly more expensive than traditional cable maintenance techniques ( ABPmer et al. 2011). No information was received from industry as to whether there were any areas of concern or the significance of this issue in relation to the proposed wind, wave or tidal Draft Plan Option areas and cable corridors.

C10.2.3 Summary

Based on the assumptions stated in the methodology, the assessment indicates that all current planned/proposed interconnectors, except the UK-Norway NorthConnect, are likely to be consented prior to the leasing of Draft Plan Option areas or cable corridors and hence no interactions with this sector are anticipated for these future interconnectors. Although the NorthConnect interconnector route has not been finalised, based on current understanding of the potential route corridor, it may not intersect (and therefore need to deviate around) any Draft Plan Option areas, indicating that it is unlikely that there will be a significant cost impact to this sector. However, industry have highlighted concerns relating to cable crossings and future liabilities, which if realised may have large cost impacts on the sector. It is not currently possible to estimate these cost impacts.

C10.3 References

ABPmer, RPA and SQW, 2011. Economic Assessment of Short Term Options for Offshore Wind Energy in Scottish territorial Waters: Costs and Benefits to Other Marine Users and Interests. Report for Marine Scotland. Report R. 1743, March 2011.

DECC website. Electricity Networks Strategy Group ( ENSG) Accessed: 15/03/13

Electricity Strategy Network Group, 2012. ENSG 'Our Electricity Transmission Network: A Vision For 2020'. Available online:

ODIS, 2011. Offshore Development Information Statement: Appendices. Published by National Grid in September 2011.

Saunders, J., Tinch, R., Ozdemiroglu, E. & Hull, S., 2011. Valuing the Marine Estate and UK Seas: Dynamic Baseline Assessment (draft). Marine Estate Research Report for The Crown Estate.

Scottish Government, 2009. National Planning Framework for Scotland 2.

Scottish Government, 2012. Energy Generation Policy Statement, March 2012. ISBN 978-78045-724-6 (web only). Available online:

United Kingdom Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy ( UKMMAS), 2010. Charting Progress 2 Feeder Report Productive Seas. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs on behalf of UKMMAS (Eds. Saunders, J. and McKie, J.) 472pp Available online:


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