Offshore wind developers will be “dismayed” over delays to the leasing process for projects in Scotland, according to industry body RenewableUK.
The Crown Estate Scotland said that following the “unprecedented outcome” of the offshore wind leasing auction for sites in waters around England and Wales, it was now reviewing the option structure for its ScotWind leasing process.
It said the result of the review is targeted to be completed by 24 March and that the deadline for applications will now be later than originally planned.
RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Melanie Onn said: “Having spent over a year setting out the process for awarding these new leases and making clear to developers what is required from them, Crown Estate Scotland is now rewriting the rules at the eleventh hour."
“Scotland has a unique opportunity to secure billions of pounds of investment in new renewable energy projects which will support thousands of jobs across the supply chain. Delays and U-turns are bad for investor confidence and for Scotland’s position as a world leader in offshore wind”.
Crown Estate Scotland said the review will help ensure that the offshore wind leasing process attracts major green investment to Scotland by delivering long-term economic and net zero benefits through a competitive and sustainable pipeline of projects.
Successful bidders for the England and Wales leases committed an initial investment of £879m in option fee deposits.
Round 4 was the first time a bidding process to set ‘option fees’ has been used in the leasing process. Previously the Crown Estate had set fixed annual option fees.