In 2009, The Crown Estate identified 10 areas where it was prepared to grant commercial leases for offshore wind energy developments. Collectively, these areas could provide a generation capacity of around 6.4GW. Subsequent to this, one of the sites (Bell Rock) proved technically unsuitable for development and the developer has withdrawn from the scheme.
The Scottish Government's draft Offshore Wind Energy Plan provides a strategic overview of where offshore wind development could be progressed including The Crown Estate's 9 short-term options, together with a number of medium and longer-term options. A number of studies have been commissioned by Marine Scotland to support the evaluation of the Plan prior to its adoption. These studies have included a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) (Marine Scotland, 2010a) and a Habitats Regulations Appraisal (ABPmer, 2011) of the short and medium term options in the Draft Plan. In addition, Marine Scotland also commissioned an economic assessment of the short term offshore wind options within the Draft Plan to further inform the finalisation of the OWE Plan and the Post- Adoption Statement. The study has focused on the short term options identified as there is greater certainty about these developments at this point in time.
The project has sought to assess the impact of development in the following broad areas of Scotland specified within the Draft OWE Plan:
- North East: focusing on Beatrice;
- East: Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe, Forth Array;
- South West: Solway Firth, Wigtown Bay; and
- West: Argyll Array, Islay, Kintyre.
As no sites in the North or North West areas have been identified among the short term options, no development options from these areas have been considered within the analysis. Information on regional-scale impacts has also been combined to provide an indication of impacts at a national level.
The study has been undertaken by ABPmer in association with economic consultants SQW and Risk & Policy Analysts (RPA) between December 2010 and February 2011. The project has been managed jointly by the Marine Analytical Unit (MAU) and the Marine Renewables and Offshore Wind policy team within Marine Scotland supported by a wider Project Advisory Group involving key stakeholders. The study involved a significant level of consultation with stakeholders to understand potential impacts and develop key assumptions.
The study approach has assessed and compared the costs incurred by, and benefits arising from, different policy options and considered them against a „do nothing‟ option (where there is no intervention). The assessment has been prepared in line with the principles with Better Regulation Executive guidance on impact assessment1 and the Green Book methodology (HM Treasury, 2003) for economic assessment.
The key requirements of the study have been to:
- Provide a comparison of the economic and social benefits associated with the development of the short term options for offshore wind in Scottish Territorial Waters against any potential economic and social costs associated with it;
- Assess the distribution of costs and benefits amongst the public sector, different industries (e.g. fishing, tourism, shipping) and wider society, in order to establish who may bear the benefits and costs associated with the short term options;
- Consider the impact (in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) and employment) that the short term options may have on the regional economies affected, and on the wider Scottish economy. In particular, it has estimated the net impact resulting from the manufacture, installation, operation and decommissioning of offshore wind sites, from any associated infrastructure development works that are required, and from any impacts on other marine activities; and
- Finally, the impact assessment has involved specific tests to determine the potential impact of policies on small firms and on competition.
This report presents the findings of the assessment of costs and benefits to other marine users and interests.