Ambitious plans to increase Scotland’s offshore wind capacity by 2030
The Scottish Government has set a new ambition to increase offshore wind capacity to 11 gigawatts (GW) of energy installed by 2030 – enough to power more than eight million homes.
Publishing its adopted Sectoral Marine Plan and its final Offshore Wind Policy Statement, which were agreed following an extensive consultation with industry, stakeholders, coastal communities and environmental organisations, the government said the increase supports the delivery of Scotland’s 2017 Energy Strategy and the decarbonisation of heat and transport.
As well as outlining the economic opportunities offshore wind presents, the Scottish Government has also adopted a plan identifying suitable areas for commercial-scale offshore wind projects. This will inform the first seabed leasing process led by the newly devolved Crown Estate Scotland.
Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “This is a pivotal moment for the development of our offshore wind sector. Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world and our ambition to capitalise on our offshore wind generation capacity is part of the bold action we are taking to support economic recovery and become a net-zero society.
“The Scottish Government is determined to drive a green economic recovery with investment in renewable energy at the heart of it. We want to harness Scotland’s enviable wind resource for our energy system and unlock significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector. We expect that the inclusion of Supply Chain Development Statements as part of ScotWind Leasing Rounds, as well as anticipated reforms to the UK Government’s all-important Contracts for Difference process for awarding electricity supply contracts, will better support collaboration and innovation across the domestic supply chain.
“To ensure that developers have a clear framework to deliver the next round of offshore wind projects, we have also published a Sectoral Marine Plan identifying areas that are appropriate for commercial-scale developments and providing a strategic springboard for achieving our aspirations for future development.
“The plan is based on extensive consultation and seeks to balance the vital importance of our marine environment and other key sectors with the huge ambition and opportunity we have for the offshore wind sector.”
Ben Miller, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said the publications represent new foundations on which the organisation’s members can continue to develop Scotland’s offshore wind resource and deliver on Scotland’s ambitious renewable energy and net-zero targets.
He added: “The Scottish Government’s statement that 11GW of offshore wind deployment is possible by 2030 means there is much work to do, but this is a milestone moment for the decade ahead.
“We are however disappointed that some areas in the draft Sectoral Marine Plan have not been taken forward at this stage. If we are to deliver on those stretching climate targets it’s imperative that we use every tool in our armoury and continue to work together to find creative solutions to the further deployment of the cheap, popular renewable energy technologies which are already delivering environmental and economic benefits across Scotland.”
Fabrice Leveque, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “Offshore wind is already powering hundreds of thousands of Scottish homes and this new plan will help grow an industry that’s vital to reach net-zero climate emissions by 2045. Each project creates hundreds of jobs and can help put Scotland on a path to a green recovery.
“In order to ensure local communities and businesses benefit, it’s imperative the UK and Scottish Governments work closely together to ensure as much work as possible goes to local supply chains.”