3 Initial Plan Framework
3.1 The IPF provides the updated planning specification and outline of the Areas of Search, as modified following the consultation earlier in 2021, and now approved for use in the leasing process managed by CES. For more details on the consultation responses, key issues highlighted and how those have been addressed, please see Section 7.
3.2 The objectives of the INTOG planning process are central to the design and options that have been made available in this IPF. These core objectives below represent the targeted nature of this exercise and distinguish it from the earlier SMP-OWE. In particular this Plan will:
- Contribute to the attainment of net zero targets and a cleaner energy transition through targeted decarbonisation of offshore oil and gas assets from offshore wind;
- Minimise the potential adverse effects on other marine users, economic sectors and the environment resulting from further offshore wind development; and
- Maximise opportunities for economic development, investment and employment in Scotland, by identifying new sustainable opportunities for offshore wind development.
3.3 In order to meet the goals of this planning process, projects progressing under the Plan and the related leasing process must meet the following criteria. Due to the specific requirements relating to smaller Innovation projects and those relating to the targeted decarbonisation of oil and gas assets in Scottish waters, these two categories are separated out below.
3.4 This Initial Plan Framework sets out the requirements that will enable projects to progress through the planning and seabed leasing process under the category of Innovation. The Scottish Government has adopted a plan-led approach to offshore wind and whilst small-scale projects may be expected to produce less negative environmental or socio-economic impacts, sustainable planning and efficient use of our resources, especially in the context of meeting our net zero commitments and managing cumulative impact, must be a core consideration. Accordingly, the planning and leasing process will allow a number of projects to proceed; up to a total of 500MW generating capacity, provided they also meet the following criteria:
- Projects under this category should not exceed 100MW potential generation capacity.
- Projects should not be located within the areas marked for exclusion nor should they be located inside the areas identified for Targeted Oil and Gas decarbonisation projects (see maps in Section 4).
- Any project proceeding to the final Plan must have successfully progressed through the CES lease application process and been awarded exclusivity.
Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Projects
3.5 This Initial Plan Framework sets out the requirements that will enable projects to progress through the planning and seabed leasing process under the category of Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation. Delivery of sustainable offshore wind projects providing power directly, through electrification, to oil and gas assets is the core objective of this planning process. Accordingly, the planning process will consider and assess a number of projects, up to a total of 4GW generating capacity, provided they meet the following criteria:
- Projects should be located within the areas identified for Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation projects (see Section 4);
- The project should deliver electricity to oil and gas assets. Projects may pursue alternative uses for excess generated energy, such as hydrogen conversion or supply to the grid, but these must be additional to the primary purpose above; and
- Any project proceeding to the final Plan must have successfully progressed through CES lease application process and been awarded exclusivity.
3.6 It should be noted that the 4GW capacity limit at the planning stage does not account for the possible attrition of projects. As discussed in section 6, the maximum potential capacity available under CES Option Agreements and ultimately as Lease agreements will be 5.7GW for Targeted Oil and Gas Decarbonisation. This accounts for possible attrition as part of the project design process. The final Plan will be shaped by the plan-level assessments that will determine, at a strategic level, if the Plan Options are sustainable. Potential cumulative impacts across Scottish waters from INTOG, in combination with other plans and projects (including the SMP-OWE underpinning ScotWind, operational projects and those progressing through the consenting system), will be identified and assessed as part of the consideration of the impacts of INTOG development. Projects awarded exclusivity by CES remain subject to these plan-level assessments and their adoption as part of the final Plan will be dependent on the outcome of these assessments and plan consultation processes.
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