Section 84(4) of the Energy Act 2004 contains a power to designate an offshore area as a Renewable Energy Zone ("REZ"). The Renewable Energy Zone (Designation of Area) Order 2004 designated a REZ which extends around Great Britain to 200 nautical miles from the baseline against which the limit of the territorial sea is measured.

In June 2009 construction started on the first wind farm that will be partially situated in the REZ, off the Suffolk coast. In order to bring that and future offshore renewable energy installations within the REZ within jurisdiction for the purpose of civil law in England, Wales and Scotland, the Civil Jurisdiction (Application to Offshore Renewable Energy Installations etc.) Order 2009 was made on 8 July and laid before the UK and Scottish Parliaments on 15 July.

The Order does not apply all civil law in force in England, Wales and Scotland. Article 4 excludes specific enactments from the scope of the Order, essentially creating the same position as that applying to offshore oilrigs.

The policy intention is for the border between Scotland and England and Wales to be consistent with that used for the purpose of designating the area of the REZ in which Scottish Ministers have functions. The Scottish border is therefore based on the boundaries contained in the Scottish Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999.

The Order will come into force as regards Scotland on 1 November 2009. It comes into force as regards England and Wales earlier, on 5 August 2009. The later date for Scotland reflects the Scottish Parliament recess, as well as the fact that there are currently no actual or proposed offshore installations in Scotland within the REZ.