A NEW generation of wind farms off the coast of Scotland is being proposed to help meet the country’s energy needs.
Crown Estate Scotland this morning published a discussion document seeking feedback for its plan.
It says it wants to lease seabed to “encourage” new projects to be developed with a view to progressing projects as early as the end of this year.
Such offshore sites can take as long as a decade to get up and running – but the Scottish Government’s Energy Strategy needs to meet a 2030 target of 50% of its energy consumption being from renewable sources.
Currently there are two offshore wind projects operating – Robin Rigg and Hywind Scotland plus- two more being built – Beatrice and the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre.
Others due to start being built soon. The government says that means work needs to start now to ensure new projects are being built from late-2020s onwards.
Fabrice Leveque, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “The offshore wind projects which are currently being developed in Scotland are already providing enormous economic benefits to our country.
“The Beatrice scheme in the Moray Firth, for example, will deliver up to £1.2 billion into the UK and Scottish economy via employment and supply chain opportunities during its lifetime.
“Crown Estate Scotland’s proposals set the tone for the future of this vibrant sector. New sites would allow us to capture more of our offshore wind resource and enable Scotland’s burgeoning offshore wind supply chain to gear up and grow, delivering jobs and investment not just on our coasts, but across the country.”
Projects will have to be sited in areas identified in Marine Scotland’s forthcoming Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind.
Crown Estate Scotland – the public body that manages seabed leasing to help developers progress good projects – passes the money it makes from offshore renewables to Scottish Government for public spending.
Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform, said: “The potential benefits of offshore renewable energy to Scotland are enormous.
“That is why it is important that Crown Estate Scotland makes available the right seabed locations at the right time, in order to contribute to delivery of our energy strategy, attract inward investment, develop new technology and continue to drive down the associated costs of offshore energy.
“I therefore encourage anyone with an interest to feedback to help shape Crown Estate Scotland’s contribution to our energy strategy.”
John Robertson, Senior Energy & Infrastructure Manager at Crown Estate Scotland, said, “Using our seas to power Scotland is an important part of our economic and environmental well-being.
“To provide affordable, secure and clean energy, Scotland must continue to sustainably use its natural resources and grow the offshore wind sector.”
The new paper outlines a provisional design for a complete leasing package.
Claire Perry MP, UK Government Energy Minister, added: “Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are generating more clean energy than ever before with an impressive 15% of UK electricity coming from wind last year – up from less than 3% in 2010. As technology costs come down, this will enable renewables to flourish.
“The opening up of more seabed areas for new offshore wind projects is another step towards achieving our low cost, low carbon future.”
Earlier this month tidal energy firm Nova Innovation secured an extension of its seabed lease at the Shetland Tidal Array.
Crown Estate Scotland granted an extension to Nova’s existing seabed lease at Bluemull Sound in Shetland, increasing the capacity of the site lease from 0.5MW to 2MW. The extension will also see the current lease period extend until 2041.
The lease extension builds on the operation of Nova’s Bluemull Sound turbines over the last two years.
In 2016, the Shetland Tidal Array became the world’s first offshore tidal energy array, delivered with over 80% supply chain content from Scotland.
The extension of the Bluemull Sound Lease provides opportunities for further deployment of turbines as part of a larger array and creates the prospect of a longer-term operation in Shetland.
The next phase involves the installation of an additional three turbines by 2020, under the EnFAIT project: a flagship European tidal energy technology initiative led by Nova, in a consortium of nine leading industrial, academic and research organisations from across Europe.
Patrick Ross-Smith, Shetland Manager for Nova Innovation, said: “We see this as a big vote of confidence from Crown Estate Scotland for tidal energy.
“The experience and data we have developed from deploying and operating the turbines in the world’s first offshore tidal energy array are helping us to optimise our technology and processes.
“This lease extension paves the way for expanding the array, using the next generation of Nova turbines: further driving down the costs of this clean and predictable source of renewable energy.”
Mark McKean, Development Manager for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “We’ve watched the development of Nova Innovation’s Bluemull Sound site with interest and are really pleased to be able to support further growth of this project with this lease extension.
“With their ongoing work to further enhance the technology to be utilised at the Shetland site, Nova is demonstrating that tidal energy projects are truly coming of age.
“During the last 12 months we have witnessed a significant upturn in tidal energy deployments within Scottish waters and Nova’s existing operations at Bluemull Sound have added to that. We look forward to seeing further progress at this site and benefits for the local supply chain in the coming years.”
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: New offshore wind leading for Scotland – Discussion Document
IMAGE CREDITS: cc David_Kaspar