The U.K.'s Crown Estate, Marine Scotland, renewable energy developers and environmental regulators have released a new blueprint that aims to streamline the scoping, planning and approval of offshore wind power development in Scottish waters.
The report recommends the following steps:
- create a national database of survey data, with information from the U.K.'s Department of Energy and Climate Change, The Crown Estate and – at the appropriate time – developers to reduce duplication and minimize cost and time;
- introduce common standards in data collection and assessment to ensure developers can use methodologies consistently and with confidence;
- use mandatory multilateral consultation to engage other sea users (fisheries, shipping, recreational users, communities, etc.) at the earliest opportunity, before applications;
- increase resources in Marine Scotland (on a cost-recovery basis) to provide required environment specialists for efficient scoping and application processes; and
- prioritize early work to identify potential sites for new test facilities, including deepwater offshore wind technologies.
These steps will be taken by Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage and other regulatory/advisory bodies. They build upon Marine Scotland's existing work, including the creation of a "one-stopshop" to reduce the number of statutory/advisory bodies to be contacted during licensing, and the publication of a marine renewables licensing manual, which currently is undergoing review and will be expanded to include offshore wind energy development.