Information

Financial analysis undertaken regarding ScotWind auction: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004


Information requested

1. Any Net Present Value analysis undertaken by the Scottish Government orreceived by the Scottish Government via Crown Estate Scotland around theScotWind auction.

2. Any other value for money analysis undertaken by the Scottish Government orreceived by the Scottish Government via Crown Estate Scotland around theScotWind auction.

Response

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

1. I attach a copy of some of the information you requested, please refer to the 1PDF attachment containing an ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing: Advisory Note fromthe University of Strathclyde Centre of Energy Policy.

An exception under regulation 11(2) of the EIRs (personal information) applies to some of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exception is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception.

2. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exception under regulation 10(5)(f) (third party interests) of the EIRs applies to thatinformation. The reason why that exception applies is explained below.

The Scottish Government holds 2 reports commissioned by and received from Crown Estate Scotland (CES) that fall within the scope of your request around the ScotWind auction.

Regulation 10(5)(f) allows authorities to withhold information where disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the interests of the person who supplied the information (in this case CES).

This exception applies because CES:
(i) was not under, and could not have been put under, any legal obligation to supply the information;
(ii) did not supply it in circumstances such that it could, apart from these Regulations, be made available; and
(iii) has not consented to its disclosure.

This exception is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exception. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exception. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information of the type you have requested above as part of an open and transparent government. However, there is a greater public interest in encouraging the voluntary flow of information to public authorities, as in the case here. Disclosing such information against the express wishes of the stakeholder is likely to undermine their trust in the Government and make them reluctant in future to provide information to us. This would significantly impair the Scottish Government’s ability to develop policies and make decisions on the basis of fully informed advice and evidence. This would not be in the public interest.

However, you may wish to contact Crown Estate Scotland directly who may be able to help you. For Freedom of Information requests please email: freedomofinformation@crownestatescotland.com, call 0131 260 6070 or write to: Crown Estate Scotland, Quartermile Two, 2nd Floor, 2 Lister Square, Edinburgh, EH3 9GL.

In the interests of being helpful to your questions I have noted some background and context in relation to the financial aspects of ScotWind and particularly the value calculations.

CES are obliged to transact at ‘market value’ (as in The Scottish Crown Estate Act 2019). This market value test formed a fundamental aspect of the development of ScotWind Leasing. There are two key aspects of the financial returns to CES (and therefore to SG), option fees and rent. Each was subject to market value testing during development. Expert external advice was procured by CES to advise on pricing aspects during this development.

I hope this background and context is helpful and does answer your questions to some degree albeit without the actual analysis.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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