The Crown Estate has awarded lease agreements for five new offshore wind farms in Scottish waters. The additional 5 gigawatts (GW) of proposed offshore wind capacity brings Scotland’s total awarded offshore wind capacity to nearly 10 GW. These numbers are aligned with the Scottish government’s plan to generate 100 percent of the country’s electricity from renewable resources by 2020.
The five projects are at Argyll Array and Islay on the west coast, Beatrice in the Moray Firth and at Inch Cape and Neart na Gaoithe in the Outer Forth and Tay. The lease agreements give developers the exclusive option to lease a designated portion of the seabed in the future, providing them with the certainty they need in order to move forward with project planning. Once a developer can prove that a project meets statutory environmental, safety and operational standards, final consent for offshore wind projects will be awarded by the regulator responsible for managing Scotland’s seas, Marine Scotland.
The Crown Estate has already invested £16 million (US$25.7 million) in offshore renewable energy in Scotland, and plans to invest another £20 million (US$32 million) in the next five years in environmental assessments and public outreach.
“The progression of these sites have been made possible through the terms of our Blue Seas Green Energy marine plan, which demonstrates the Scottish Government’s continued commitment to developing a successful and sustainable offshore renewable energy industry,” said Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead. “Scotland has an estimated quarter of Europe’s offshore wind resource, making us the powerhouse of green energy in Europe. With this wealth of natural resources it is vital that we plan now to secure the benefits of this next energy revolution for future generations.”