Crown Estate Scotland has confirmed that the three successful ScotWind ‘clearing’ applicants, for sites east of Shetland, now have seabed option agreements in place, meaning that their projects can move into the development stage (Fishing News, 1 September, ‘Threat to grounds as new wind farms announced’).
In total, the three floating wind projects could generate around 2.8GW of electricity. They are anticipated to cover 560km2 of seabed, as floating wind farms need significantly more space than conventional fixed turbines.
The Shetland Fishermen’s Association has warned that the areas overlap with known nursery grounds for haddock and spawning sites for saithe, and says that there was little consultation with the industry on the selection of the sites.
The three lead developers are Ocean Winds, Mainstream Renewable Power and ESB Asset Development. Full seabed leases are granted at a later stage once applicants have the necessary consents from regulators, such as Marine Scotland, and have secured grid connections and financing.
Responsibility for these next steps does not sit with Crown Estate Scotland, and projects will only progress to a full seabed lease once all these various planning stages have been completed.
These three agreements – which take the total number of ScotWind projects with option agreements confirmed up to 20 – conclude the current ScotWind leasing round.
This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.