Offshore wind is a large scale technology with the potential to play a pivotal role in Scotland's energy system over the coming decades. The development of technologies such as floating wind, which offer scope for development in deeper water, have significant potential to contribute offshore wind energy supply at affordable prices. The Draft Sectoral Plan for Offshore Wind published in 2013 focused on conventional offshore wind technologies. The Scottish Government is therefore seeking to develop an updated Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy which encompasses deep water plan options to provide the strategic framework for the future offshore wind deployment in Scottish waters.
The purpose of this report is to present the methodology for scoping and undertaking the socio-economic impact assessment as part of the overall Sustainability Appraisal for the draft Plan. The socio-economic assessment will contribute to informing Scottish Ministers' decisions on the content of the Plan.
The scope of the study has been limited to considering the costs to activities associated with potential future development within DPO areas. It does not consider the potential benefits to the offshore wind industry, supply chains or to wider society associated with such development. These benefits will be assessed separately through a Scenario Mapping exercise and taken into account by Scottish ministers in making decisions on Plan.
The study has been overseen by a Project Advisory Group which includes representatives from within Scottish Government, The Crown Estate Scotland and relevant stakeholders.
The methodology to inform the scoping and assessment of socio-economic impacts has built on similar previous studies and previous EIAs for offshore developments. It follows wider guidance on impact assessment including Scottish Government guidance on Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and the Green Book methodology ( HM Treasury, 2013).
The methodology covers:
- The approach to defining development scenarios for offshore wind;
- Defining relevant marine activities for inclusion in the assessment;
- Defining relevant information sources to provide a baseline description against which impacts can be assessed;
- The approach to scoping of potentially significant interactions between marine activities and possible development under the Plan;
- Proposed approach for assessing socio-economic impacts on marine activities;
- Approach to cumulative assessment.