Offshore renewable energy: decommissioning guidance for Scottish waters

Guidance to assist developers / owners of offshore renewable energy installations in Scotland to understand their decommissioning obligations under the Energy Act 2004.

1. Introduction

1.1 Sections 105 to 114 of the Energy Act 2004 (as amended by the Energy Act 2008 and the Scotland Act 2016[1]) ("the Energy Act") contain statutory requirements in relation to the decommissioning of the whole or any part of a renewable energy installation or an electric line that is or has been a related line ("relevant object"). Under the terms of the Energy Act, the Scottish Ministers may require a person who is responsible for relevant objects in Scottish waters (as defined in Section 104 of the Energy Act) or in the Scottish Renewable Energy Zone ("REZ"), to prepare (and eventually carry out) a decommissioning programme for submission to and approval by the Scottish Ministers. Where there has been a failure to submit a decommissioning programme or a decommissioning programme has been rejected, the Scottish Ministers also have powers to impose a decommissioning programme on a responsible person.

1.2 Marine Scotland, as the directorate responsible for the Marine Environment, has developed this guidance on behalf of the Scottish Ministers in order to assist developers / owners (referred to from hereon in as "the responsible person") in understanding their obligations under the Energy Act. The guidance covers the following:

a) The geographical scope of the decommissioning requirements as they apply in Scotland and the categories of offshore renewable energy installation ("OREI") / electric lines included as relevant objects within the Energy Act;

b) The process for submitting, seeking approval for, reviewing and modifying a decommissioning programme submitted in accordance with the Energy Act;

c) The expected content of decommissioning programmes;

d) Decommissioning standards – the general requirement to remove relevant objects and any exceptions from this general requirement; how they are to be removed; how waste is to be dealt with; notification and marking of any remains; and monitoring, maintenance and management of the site after decommissioning;

e) Financial security – the need for financial security and the forms of financial security which are acceptable;

f) Residual liability – the residual liability which remains with the owners following decommissioning; and

g) Industry cooperation and collaboration – the value of industry cooperation and collaboration at the decommissioning stage.

1.3 This guidance should be followed by the persons responsible for relevant objects in Scottish waters or in the Scottish REZ[2], to which the Energy Act applies.



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