A range of informed stakeholders took part in the consultation. They appeared highly engaged and knowledgeable about relevant matters, including designing, building and delivering offshore wind, workforce development, or managing geographic areas that may be potential sites for expansion. Together, these responses provided a useful evidence base for the Scottish Government to draw upon when developing the final offshore wind policy statement.
Much of the draft offshore wind policy statement was endorsed in principle. Reflecting their expert knowledge and specific interests, respondents' perspectives and evidence spanned a range of complex issues which cannot be summarised succinctly. Readers are encouraged to look to specific chapters, appendices and individual responses, where permission was granted for publication for more detail.
Key themes in the discussion on building on the current position of offshore wind in Scotland include recognition of the importance of the OWPS in delivering climate change goals and many encouraged the Scottish Government to be ambitious when settling on a final target. They reflected on constraints such as infrastructure, planning and grid capacity and also asked for the policy statement to set out a clear roadmap to enable detailed planning. There was significant discussion of Contracts for Difference mechanism, with many calling for a move towards annual auctions.
On barriers to deployment, respondents reflected on Scotland's competitive disadvantage arising from Transmission Network Charges. They called for enhancements to supply chain statements, the development of a fit-for-purpose regulatory framework, an improved grid infrastructure and an overall strategy for air radar. Knowledge sharing, collaboration and co-ordination of advance planning between sectors and different marine users was strongly encouraged.
Significant local and national benefits to Scotland from a flourishing offshore wind sector were described, such as the achievement of net zero emissions targets and the potential for a growing export market. To achieve this, respondents urged the Scottish Government to show ambition, develop a clear vision and develop an effective policy framework.
The comments on strengths focused on Scotland's capacity in engineering, environmental and professional services. In reflecting on workforce expansion, the scope for skills transitions from the oil and gas sector were highlighted. There were also calls for a review of workforce gaps to support the long-term development.
Respondents urged the Scottish Government to provide support, including funding and incentives to drive innovation. This was called for at a general level and also specifically in relation to floating wind and the development of hydrogen production, recognised as important potential growth sectors for Scotland. Respondents also asked for support to overcome barriers to tender by raising awareness of opportunities, facilitating partnerships, and sharing knowledge.
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