Those proposing the construction, extension or operation of a marine-based generating station within Scottish territorial waters or the Scottish Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) will require Scottish Ministers' consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.
Applications are considered by Scottish Ministers where the generating capacity is in excess of 1 megawatt (MW) and the generating station is situated in the Scottish territorial sea (out to 12 nautical miles (nm) from the shore), or where the generating capacity is in excess of 50 MW and the generating station is in the Scottish offshore region (12 to 200 nm). Such applications cover new generating stations as well as modifications to existing ones.
The purpose of the decision making process is to allow a balance to be drawn between the interests of applicants, energy and planning policy, community interests and environmental considerations. Applications to Scottish Ministers for generating stations may need to be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report which describes the effects the project is likely to have on the environment. The application and the EIA report are made available locally for public inspection. The planning authority and range of stakeholders are invited to make representations on the application. Their views, as well as other representations made to Scottish Ministers, are considered during the decision making process.
In circumstances where important issues are raised, Scottish Ministers can decide to hold a Public Local Inquiry before decisions are taken. Ministerial approval of a project can include deemed planning permission for certain onshore elements and will authorise the applicant to construct and begin operating the generating station within five years of the date of decision, subject to relevant conditions relating to environmental and other effects.
To simplify the process for applicants for generating stations, Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) administers the application process for section 36 consents, marine licences, European Protected Species (EPS) licences and safety zones.
MS-LOT welcomes early inquiries from applicants to discuss potential renewable energy projects and encourages early dialogue with stakeholders. Should you wish to discuss a potential project or any other aspect of the offshore renewable consenting process, please get in touch with us using our contact details below.
Further information can be found in the relevant publications:
- guidance for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy applications
- section 36 applications: guidance for applicants on using the design envelope
- section 36 application fees
- Environmental Impact Assessment overview
- Electricity Act 1989
- The Electricity (Applications for Consent) Regulations 1990
- The Electricity (Applications for Consent) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2013
- The Electricity Generating Stations (Applications for Variation of Consent) (Scotland) Regulations 2013
- The Electricity (Applications for Consent and Variation of Consent) (Fees) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2022
- First published
- 18 May 2022
- Last updated
- 4 May 2023
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