Into the deep blue
A blueprint to accelerate the scoping, planning and consenting of offshore renewables developments has been published by the Scottish Government.
It has been prepared by a task force made up of Marine Scotland, environmental regulators, renewables developers and The Crown Estate. Its recommendations include creating a national database of survey data to reduce duplication and costs, the introduction of common standards in data collection and assessment to ensure developers can use methodologies “consistently and with confidence”, and prioritising early work to identify potential sites for new test facilities, including deep water offshore wind technologies.
Those measures will now be taken forward by Marine Scotland and other regulatory and advisory bodies. They will build on Marine Scotland’s existing work including the creation of a single source to reduce the number of statutory and advisory bodies to be contacted during licensing.
SALMOND: Good information for developers and other parties will be crucial.
The move was welcomed by First Minister Alex Salmond as he co-chaired the first meeting of the year for the Scottish Energy Advisory Board. He said: “An increasing number of major overseas firms are already joining leading Scottish companies to invest in the development of wind, wave and tidal in Scotland. As we move towards our 2020 target of ensuring renewables contribute at least 100% per cent of Scotland’s own electricity demand, it is important that the scoping, planning, development and deployment of offshore wind, wave and tidal generation is done as effectively and efficiently as possible.
“That requires developers to consult early with other industries and with communities and to use common standards when surveying potential sites, while it requires public agencies to commit sufficient resources to be able to provide good information, timely advice and clear decisions to developers and other interested parties.”
Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said a streamlined and efficient process for securing planning consent is crucial. “This report’s recommendations will build upon the concerted effort made by industry, government and regulators to move these projects closer to deployment, and ultimately deliver clean, safe and secure electricity from around our shores to homes and businesses across Scotland.”
Tagged Alex Salmond, offshore renewables developments, renewable energy, Scottish Government