Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has welcomed the launch this week, by Crown Estate Scotland, of the ScotWind Offshore Wind Leasing Round. Investors and developers can now take the first steps in obtaining a Lease Agreement to build Offshore Wind Farms in identified ‘Areas of Deployment’ around Scotland. Three of these Areas of Deployment – N2, N3 and N4 – are in the Hebridean Marine Region and hold the potential to create jobs in the Outer Hebrides Supply Chain and to bring considerable benefit to island communities.
Leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Cllr Roddie Mackay, said, “This is a major step forward for the islands. We have been working closely with Marine Scotland to ensure that their new Sectoral Plan for Offshore Wind includes Areas of Deployment around the Outer Hebrides and now Crown Estate Scotland are offering seabed leases in these Areas. We have the best wind resource in Europe and some world leading energy companies are already showing strong interest in these Hebridean areas”
Cllr MacKay continued, “As Crown Estate Scotland’s proposals for Offshore Wind leasing were being developed, the Comhairle consistently called for the maximisation of local supply chain content in Offshore Wind deployments around the islands and I am pleased that Crown Estate Scotland has responded to this by including a requirement for Supply Chain Development Statements in their Lease Agreements. We expect these Statements to support the growth of the island Supply Chain to meet the demands of Offshore Wind developers around the Outer Hebrides. As the UK drives towards Net Zero (Greenhouse Gas emissions) by 2050 – 2045 for Scotland – and Government and industry develop a strategic economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic,”
Cllr MacKay concluded: “The conditions are right for the Outer Hebrides to lead the UK into a new, low carbon future. With developers, we will now look at all routes to market for electricity from these deployments, ranging from direct Grid export to onshore Electricity-to-Hydrogen schemes”.
The entire ScotWind Leasing Round will bring investment of more than £8 billion in conventional, bottom-fixed Offshore Wind and emerging Floating Offshore Wind technology which is not constrained by water depths. Deployment in Hebridean waters is anticipated from 2026 onwards and will rebalance Offshore Wind opportunities which, historically, have gravitated towards the east coast of Scotland and the North Sea.