Scottish Renewables: Offshore wind delay could cost billions

Scottish Renewables has urged the Scottish Government to resolve the delay to the ScotWind offshore wind leasing round and keep the process on track before the Parliament election period starts on 25 March.

The government recently halted ScotWind leasing, which was already 14 months late, after the Crown Estate’s offshore wind leasing auction for sites off England and Wales resulted in higher than anticipated prices.

According to Scottish Renewables, the Cabinet is likely to decide the fate of ScotWind on 17 March, however, failing to resolve the issue would risk setting in motion a “domino effect of damaging consequences.”

Continued disruption to Scotland’s offshore wind sector risks the loss of billions of pounds of long-term investment and the vital 2045 climate change target, the industry body emphasized.

“Ministers should be in no doubt about the impact of the decisions they will make. Industry has endured delay after delay in the past decade, a situation which has left Scotland’s offshore wind sector trailing the rest of the UK. Further delay now would be disastrous and would risk setting off a domino effect of damaging consequences,” said Scottish Renewables Chief Executive Claire Mack.

“We’re well aware that supply chain businesses across Scotland are pinning their hopes on offshore wind as the oil and gas industry declines. Without the certainty that ScotWind Leasing was providing until recently it will be incredibly hard for them to make the investments required to do so.”

Crown Estate Scotland opened the application window for the ScotWind seabed leasing round for offshore wind projects this January.

A month later, the Crown Estate delayed the deadline for applications and announced a review of the option structure for the process.

The result of the review is targeted to be completed by 24 March, while the deadline for applications will now be later than 31 March and will be confirmed on completion of the review.