The Scottish Government yesterday outlined a blueprint to streamline the scoping, planning and consenting of offshore renewables development.
The report, which was drawn up by a task force comprising Marine Scotland, environmental regulators, renewable developers and The Crown Estate, recommends creating a national database of survey information about renewables resources.
The task force also suggests creating a set of common standards for data collection and assessment to ensure that all developers act with consistency.
One initial priority would be to scope out potential sites for new test facilities, including deepwater sites for offshore wind, says the report.
Marine Scotland, which will taking the recommendations forward, should also receive more resources so that it can provide environmental specialists to help scoping and application processes.
“As we move towards our 2020 target of ensuring renewables contribute at least 100% 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,” said Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond, welcoming the report.
“Scotland’s distinct approach to sectoral marine planning has already provided clarity for developers. By ensuring that government, developers and others get things right at the strategic planning and earliest licensing stages we can cut the time and resource spent on inappropriate developments and allow a greater focus on those areas with the best opportunities,” he added.
Scotland currently has around 11 GW of offshore wind, wave and tidal projects in the pipeline by 2020 as part of its ambitious targets.
For further information:
UK’s £1 billion Walney wind farm breaks industry records (9-Feb)
UK government promises to continue supporting onshore wind (7-Feb)
Samsung chooses Scotland for £100 million turbine venture (1-Feb)
2011 was ‘momentous’ year for renewables in Scotland (20-Dec 2011)
10 February 2012