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Preparation starts for new offshore wind leasing in Scotland

Crown Estate Scotland – the body that manages leasing of the seabed – is to start discussions with industry, government and interested organisations to prepare for potential new offshore wind leasing.

A range of agencies, NGOs and marine sectors will be involved in informing the approach to leasing, with a view to ensuring new projects can start to operate from the late 2020s and beyond.

Current offshore wind projects in waters around Scotland includes 211MW in operation (including Robin Rigg and Hywind Scotland) and 680MW in construction (including Beatrice). The proposed new leasing will potentially see more seabed used by developers to build commercial-scale (100MW+) floating and / or fixed offshore wind farms.

It follows the announcement of Contracts for Difference in September showing a sharp fall in the cost of offshore wind electricity and the Clean Growth Strategy which included a commitment from the UK Government to work with Crown Estate Scotland and The Crown Estate to understand the potential for deployment of offshore wind in the late 2020s and beyond.

John Robertson, senior development manager at Crown Estate Scotland said, “We have now started to consider if and how to issue new leasing rights for commercial-scale offshore wind projects. This will include speaking to local, Scottish and UK stakeholders in 2018 to understand their views on our proposed approach.

“The waters around Scotland have fantastic potential, particularly for developments in deeper waters. With costs being lowered and jobs created throughout the supply chain, new leasing has the potential to benefit communities, consumers and the climate.”

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said, “The potential benefits of offshore wind energy are enormous, given Scotland’s very extensive maritime area and estimated 25% share of Europe’s wind energy potential. This is why the Scottish Government are committed to the sensitive development of fixed offshore wind projects and why we are also pioneering the development of floating wind projects for our deeper waters; as a consequence, both floating and fixed offshore wind technologies feature very strongly in our draft Energy Strategy for Scotland.

“Investment in renewable energy, such as offshore wind, will not only stimulate economic growth, but can also help to lower electricity prices in the future and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and, thereby, mitigate the impacts of climate change. We want to maximise the huge potential of this industry and its supply chain here, in Scotland, and so I welcome Crown Estate Scotland’s efforts to identify future licensing opportunities and look forward to working with CES as they manage Scotland’s marine assets directly on behalf of Scottish Ministers.”

UK Government Energy Minister, Richard Harrington, said, “The offshore wind sector in the UK has shown great ambition and is bringing forward clean energy projects that could power more than 3 million homes, at half the cost achieved in previous auctions.

“Our Clean Growth Strategy sets out that the UK could support another 10GW of offshore wind in the 2020s, with the opportunity for more if it’s cost effective. This announcement today is an important step towards these future projects.”

It can take developers around nine years from securing an initial agreement for an area of seabed, taking their proposal through pre-planning and consenting into construction, to then start generating electricity.

Offshore wind directly benefits communities across Scotland by creating jobs, reducing climate change emissions and contributing to the profits that Crown Estate Scotland passes to the public purse. Detail of existing projects can be found on the map here.

Crown Estate Scotland’s role in offshore renewable energy is that of landlord, catalyst and supportive partner. Marine Scotland as the regulator is responsible for environmental considerations, regulatory compliance and assessing consent applications.


For more information please contact Barbara Fraser at Pagoda PR on 0131 556 0770 or call Esther Black at Crown Estate Scotland on 07917 628 253.


Notes to Editors

The 3 million homes quoted by Mr Harrington refers to the results of the last Contracts for Difference auction.

About Crown Estate Scotland

Crown Estate Scotland manages land and property on behalf of Scottish Ministers. It works with people, businesses and organisations to ensure that the assets are managed in a sustainable way that creates prosperity for the Scotland and its communities.

The business started operating in April 2017, replacing The Crown Estate in Scotland, and pays all revenue profit to the Scottish Government.

Crown Estate Scotland is responsible for managing:

·         37,000 hectares of rural land with agricultural tenancies, residential and commercial properties and forestry on four rural estates (Glenlivet, Fochabers, Applegirth and Whitehill)

·         Rights to fish wild salmon and sea trout in in river and coastal areas

·         Rights to naturally-occurring gold and silver across most of Scotland

·         Just under half the foreshore around Scotland including 5,800 moorings and some ports and harbours

·         Leasing of virtually all seabed out to 12 nautical miles covering some 750 fish farming sites and agreements with cables & pipeline operators

·         The rights to offshore renewable energy and gas and carbon dioxide storage out to 200 nautical miles

·         Retail and office units at 39-41 George Street Edinburgh

Crown Estate Scotland is a public corporation which manages the assets on an interim basis until new legislation sets out permanent arrangements.