ABPmer prepares scoping documents to support floating wind in Scottish waters
Marine Scotland has awarded a contract to ABPmer, a recognised marine planning specialist, to prepare scoping documents to support the development of floating wind (or other possible future deep water wind technologies) in Scottish waters.
The Scottish Government has set a range of challenging targets for renewable energy which include the potential for offshore energy generation (wind, wave and tidal power) in Scottish waters. To assist in meeting these targets, it is developing Sectoral Marine Plans for Offshore Renewable Energy.
Although the draft plans were published for consultation in 2013, they were not finalised due to market uncertainty created by a change in the UK subsidy regime and also because wave and tidal technology has taken longer to mature to the level of commercial readiness.
However, with the development of the world’s first floating wind farm array off the coast of Peterhead and the recent cost reduction for the offshore wind sector demonstrated in the most recent UK Contract for Difference round, Scottish Ministers now wish to review the Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy and undertake a strategic marine planning process to ensure an enabling spatial strategy is in place for the successful development of this sector to include deep water technologies.
Elena San Martin, a senior environmental consultant at ABPmer said: “We are delighted to be helping the Scottish Government take forward its new plan for offshore wind energy in Scottish Waters.
“The sectoral marine planning process is driven by Sustainability Appraisal detailing the requirements for Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA), Social & Economic Impact Assessment (SEIA), Strategic Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) and Public Participation. As well as helping to identify the potential opportunities for floating wind and other possible future deep water wind development in Scottish waters, our scoping process will also set out the approach to undertaking a strategic SEIA and a plan-level HRA in accordance with relevant Scottish and UK legislation. These outputs will be used to inform the strategic assessments needed for a new Offshore Wind Plan for Scottish Waters.”
The project is expected to be completed by the end of March and will be published on the Scottish Government’s website in due course. Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd will provide input to the SEIA scoping process.