The Scottish Government said on Wednesday it has set a new ambition to increase offshore wind capacity to 11 gigawatts (GW) of energy installed by 2030 – enough to power more than eight million homes.
Scotland currently has 5.6GW of consented offshore capacity, of which 1GW is operational.
“The aim of substantially increasing the offshore wind capacity in Scottish waters supports the delivery of Scotland’s 2017 Energy Strategy and the decarbonisation of heat and transport and has been agreed following an extensive consultation with industry, stakeholders, coastal communities and environmental organisations,” said the Scottish Government.
“As well as outlining the economic opportunities offshore wind presents, the Scottish Government has also adopted a plan identifying suitable areas for commercial-scale offshore wind projects.
“This will inform the first seabed leasing process led by the newly devolved Crown Estate Scotland.”
Scotland’s Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “This is a pivotal moment for the development of our offshore wind sector.
“Our seas are host to some of the best offshore wind resources in the world and our ambition to capitalise on our offshore wind generation capacity is part of the bold action we are taking to support economic recovery and become a net-zero society.
“The Scottish Government is determined to drive a green economic recovery with investment in renewable energy at the heart of it.
“We want to harness Scotland’s enviable wind resource for our energy system and unlock significant investment in the supply chain to create more green jobs across the sector.
“We expect that the inclusion of Supply Chain Development Statements as part of ScotWind Leasing Rounds, as well as anticipated reforms to the UK Government’s all-important Contracts for Difference process for awarding electricity supply contracts, will better support collaboration and innovation across the domestic supply chain.
“To ensure that developers have a clear framework to deliver the next round of offshore wind projects, we have also published a Sectoral Marine Plan identifying areas that are appropriate for commercial-scale developments and providing a strategic springboard for achieving our aspirations for future development.
“The plan is based on extensive consultation and seeks to balance the vital importance of our marine environment and other key sectors with the huge ambition and opportunity we have for the offshore wind sector.”
Fabrice Leveque, head of policy at WWF Scotland, said: “Offshore wind is already powering hundreds of thousands of Scottish homes and this new plan will help grow an industry that’s vital to reach net-zero climate emissions by 2045.
“Each project creates hundreds of jobs and can help put Scotland on a path to a green recovery …
“In order to ensure local communities and businesses benefit, it’s imperative the UK and Scottish Governments work closely together to ensure as much work as possible goes to local supply chains.”