Scotland looks ahead of Round 3 for offshore

UK: A new scoping report prepared by Marine Scotland Science has identified future offshore wind energy sites beyond Round 3 in Scottish waters.

The report was announced by Scottish minister for energy Fergus Ewing at the EWEA conference in Amsterdam last week.

Ewing said areas of environmental sensitivity and which were already constrained by fishing, oil and gas and shipping activities would be avoided at the outset.

"The report identifies areas of shallow waters which are suitable for existing technologies," he said. "But also deep-water areas which could be used for emerging offshore technologies such as floating technology."

The Scottish government will produce siting guidelines for next generation wind farms in spring 2012, followed by a sustainability appraisal and a draft Offshore Wind Energy Plan later in the year.

By 2013 a blueprint should be published which is intended to give developers the confidence to move to the next stage of offshore wind-project development in Scottish waters, with UK seabed owners The Crown Estate then opening discussions with developers on future lease bidding.