Calculation of 2010 figure for offshore wind potential: EIR release

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

Information requested

A Scottish Government spokesperson is quoted as saying that "the figure [of 25 per cent of Europe's offshore wind potential] was correct when first calculated in 2010.

Under FOISA, please provide

  • the source/s underpinning that 2010 calculation and the workings that produced this figure.
  • a list of Scottish Government publications and media releases which used the 25% figure since 2010.


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.

I attach a copy of some of the information you requested.

The figure of 25% of Europe's offshore wind potential is a dated statistic calculated using data from two reports:

  • Scotland’s Renewables Resource 2001, Scottish Government/Garrad Hassan, 2001. Available here, which estimated a 25 GW potential capacity for offshore wind in Scotland.
  • Wind Force 10 ‘A Blueprint To Achieve 10% Of The World’s Electricity From Wind Power By 2020. European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) Forum for Energy and Development and Greenpeace International, 1999. Available here. This second report states that European offshore wind potential could amount to 313.6 TWh. This figure was then converted to a general capacity, accounting for load factors etc., of 102 GW.

Combining both of these statistics, the estimated 25 GW capacity for Scotland equates to 24.5% of the estimated 102 GW total resource estimate for Europe.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The Scottish Government does not hold a “list” of publications or media releases which used the 25% figure. Therefore we are refusing this part of your request under the exception at regulation 10(4)(a) of the EIRs – information not held. The reason why that exception applies is explained in the Annex to this letter.

Nevertheless, and in the interest of meeting our obligation under regulation 9 to assist and advise, most of this information is available from the Publications or News pages of the Scottish Government website. Both pages facilitate search results being filtered by both keywords and date ranges. Under regulation 6(1) (b) of the EIRs, we do not have to give you information which is already publicly available and easily accessible to you in another form or format. If, however, you
do not have internet access to obtain this information from the website(s) listed, then please contact me again and I will send you paper copies.

Please be advised that the News page of the Scottish Government website does not hold media releases issued prior to March 2016. Additional internal searches have identified two media releases from 2014 which cite the 25% statistic and a transcript of these will be released to you as part of our response to this EIR.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at

FOI 202200330552 - Information released


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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