Scotland’s first leasing round for offshore wind projects is likely to be launched in October 2019, although that is only an indicative timescale.
Crown Estate Scotland, the public body responsible for leasing Scotland’s seabed, said it anticipates that by October, applications for developments can start to be received. “This is our current intention but is not a firm commitment,” it said.
There will also be a prelaunch mid-year which will provide further details about the leasing and ensure the people and organisations involved have the information they need ahead of the final launch. This aligns with previous commitments to ensure that ScotWind leasing is launched in 2019.
In addition to a target launch date, Crown Estate Scotland has provided further information outlining the proposed process and timelines to help developers and communities gain a fuller understanding of the next steps.
The final timings of the leasing are directly linked to the development of Marine Scotland’s Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind. “Our preference is to launch ScotWind leasing once the Draft Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind has been published. We understand that Marine Scotland currently intends to publish the draft plan for consultation in early autumn 2019, subject to continued discussions with stakeholders.
“In providing this further information, we are trying to give useful detail that can help potential applicants prepare for the leasing launch and give wider stakeholders an insight into the application process for ScotWind Leasing. The final process may differ from the outline we have given here but we believe that this indicative information will be of assistance at this stage.”
Crown Estate Scotland senior development manager John Robertson said, “Scotland has the potential to be a major focus for offshore wind activity in the coming years. This can bring with it the development of a world-class supply chain and an economic boost for communities across the country, in addition to providing an ideal route to help us further decarbonise our economy and meet our climate change targets.
“We want to provide clarity around our leasing proposals. We’ll continue to liaise closely with the industry and others in the coming months, and we’ll confirm the exact launch date in due course.”
The proposed timings are as follows. There will be a pre-launch to provide further information in July 2019. The leasing process will formally get under way in October 2019 with the deadline for applications to Crown Estate Scotland between February and April 2020. Crown Estate Scotland would then offer option agreements to successful applicants following publication of the Final Sectoral Plan adopted by Scottish Ministers, sometime between May and July 2020.