Last week marked a first for offshore wind in Scotland. The new body Crown Estate Scotland published its discussion paper on New Offshore Wind Leasing.

Crown Estate Scotland

Crown Estate Act 1961 governs the actings of the Crown Estate (UK) with matters affecting Scotland being devolved by the Scotland Act 2016. The 2016 Act prepared the ground for HM Treasury to establish a transfer scheme which was enacted in terms of The Crown Estate Statutory Transfer Scheme 2017.

The Crown Estate Scotland has been operating under an interim management since the Transfer Scheme but The Scottish Crown Estate Bill introduced on 24 January 2018 sets out the reforms intended for the Crown Estate Scotland.

Discussion paper

Under its interim management, the Crown Estate Scotland have published their discussion paper with responses due by 31 August and the findings due to be published by the end of 2018. The Crown Estate Scotland is keen to have their first round of offshore wind in process by the end of 2018 with Marine Scotland already working on their Sectoral Marine plan for Offshore Wind .

Implications

This could see the divergence of approach to offshore wind between Scotland and the rest of the UK. Scotland has a real opportunity to chart new waters and are already demonstrating this with the world’s first floating offshore windfarm, Hywind.

Next steps

It will be key that potential developers keep abreast of the findings of this discussion paper and await the publishing of the Sectoral Marine Plan. Important to note for UK developers that the regime in Scotland is likely to differ from the rest of the UK, the consenting process already differs but in addition we may well see a different bidding and leasing mechanism develop from previous rounds.

Now is the time for all potential developers to engage in the process.