Offshore Wind and Marine Renewable Energy
Objectives and policies for this sector should be read subject to those set out in the General Policies and Strategic Objectives. It is recognised that not all of the objectives can necessarily be achieved directly through the marine planning system, but they are considered important context for planning and decision making.
Sustainable development of offshore wind, wave and tidal renewable energy in the most suitable locations.
Economic benefits from offshore wind, wave and tidal energy developments maximised by securing a competitive local supply chain in Scotland.
Alignment of marine and terrestrial planning and efficient consenting and licensing processes including but not limited to data sharing, engagement and timings, where possible.
Aligned marine and terrestrial electricity transmission grid planning and development in Scottish waters.
Contribute to achieving the renewables target to generate electricity equivalent to 100% of Scotland's gross annual electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2020.
Contribute to achieving the decarbonisation target of 50gCO2/kWh by 2030 (to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation by more than four-fifths).
Sustainable development and expansion of test and demonstration facilities for offshore wind and marine renewable energy devices.
Co-ordinated government and industry-wide monitoring.
Marine planning policies
RENEWABLES 1: Proposals for commercial scale offshore wind and marine renewable energy development should be sited in the Plan Option areas identified through the Sectoral Marine Plan process. Plan Options are considered the preferred strategic locations for the sustainable development of offshore wind and marine renewables. This preference should be taken into account by marine planners and decision makers if alternative development or use of these areas is being considered. Proposals are subject to licensing and consenting processes.
RENEWABLES 2: Sites with agreements for lease for wave and tidal energy development in the Pentland Firth Strategic Area must be taken into account by marine planners and decision makers if alternative use of these areas, or use which would affect access to these areas, is being considered. Proposals are subject to licensing and consenting processes. Regional Locational Guidance and the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plans should also be taken into account when reaching decisions.
RENEWABLES 3: Marine planners and decision makers should consider proposals for sustainable development of test and demonstration for offshore wind and marine renewable energy development on a case-by-case basis where sites are identified. This preference should be taken into account by marine planners and decision makers if alternative development or use of these areas is being considered. Regional Locational Guidance should be taken into account and proposals are subject to licensing and consenting processes.
RENEWABLES 4: Applications for marine licences and consents relating to offshore wind and marine renewable energy projects should be made in accordance with the Marine Licensing Manual and Marine Scotland's Licensing Policy Guidance.
RENEWABLES 5: Marine planners and decision makers must ensure that renewable energy projects demonstrate compliance with Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Regulations Appraisal legislative requirements.
RENEWABLES 6: New and future planned grid connections should align with relevant sectoral and other marine spatial planning processes, where appropriate, to ensure a co-ordinated and strategic approach to grid planning. Cable and network owners and marine users should also take a joined-up approach to development and activity to minimise impacts on the marine historic and natural environment and other users.
RENEWABLES 7: Marine planners and decision makers should ensure infrastructure is fit for purpose now and in future. Consideration should be given to the potential for climate change impacts on coasts vulnerable to erosion.
Maximising benefits from offshore renewables
RENEWABLES 8: Developers bringing forward proposals for new developments must actively engage at an early stage with the general public and interested stakeholders of the area to which the proposal relates and of adjoining areas which may be affected.
RENEWABLES 9: Marine planners and decision makers should support the development of joint research and monitoring programmes for offshore wind and marine renewables energy development.
RENEWABLES 10: Good practice guidance for community benefit from offshore wind and renewable energy development should be followed by developers, where appropriate.
Regional policy: Regional marine plans should consider:
- Further assessing Plan Options areas against local/updated data knowledge to identify development potential, interactions and compatibility.
- Co-ordinating and developing a better understanding of the interactions between the sector and the environment and other users.
- Ensuring better alignment between marine and terrestrial planning.
- Links to relevant terrestrial plans.
- Grid requirements and onshore infrastructures for grid. Links to strategic grid initiatives and engagement with these, e.g. the North Sea Countries Offshore Grid Initiative could also be supported by regional marine planning.
- Co-ordinating with the Crown Estate on leasing rounds. <applies to inshore waters>