This document is a Non-Technical Summary (NTS) of the Environmental Statement (ES) for the proposed Hywind Scotland Pilot Park Project ("the Project"). The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of the key findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) undertaken by independent energy consultants Xodus Group.
1.1 The requirement for the Project
There are four key drivers for the shift in energy production to renewable sources in Scotland and the UK:
- The need to address climate change;
- The need to secure energy supply;
- The need for new energy infrastructure; and
- The need to maximise economic opportunities.
The Scottish Government has signalled its commitment to tackling climate change and its strong support for renewable energy through both legislation and policy. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 imposes a legal commitment on the Scottish Government to reduce emissions by 42% from 1990 levels by 2020 and a further 8% by 2050. The Scottish Government’s stated objective is for the equivalent of 100% of Scottish electricity demand to be generated from renewable sources by 2020. The Marine Energy Roadmap highlights the key role marine renewables will play in meeting these targets and objectives.
The UK has committed to sourcing 15% of its total energy from renewable sources by 2020 and projections suggest that by 2020, 30% or more of our electricity could come from renewable sources, compared with 6.7% in 2009.
Projects such as the Hywind Scotland Pilot Park Project are important in developing the renewables industry in Scotland and shifting energy consumption away from non-renewable sources.
1.2 Hywind Scotland Limited
Hywind Scotland Limited (HSL) was incorporated in 2013 with the single purpose of developing and operating the Hywind Scotland Pilot Project. The company is owned 100% by Statoil Wind Limited (SWL). The ultimate parent company is Statoil ASA, which is incorporated in Norway. The principal activity of SWL is the development of renewable energy projects in the United Kingdom. Conventional offshore wind projects in the UK i.e. with turbine bases attached to the seabed, where Statoil is involved include Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon and Dogger Bank.
As part of their offshore wind portfolio, Statoil has invested in the development of the world’s first full scale floating wind turbine. A full-scale demonstration (Hywind Demo) has been successfully in operation 10 km off the Norwegian west-coast since 2009. During the five years of testing, the Hywind Demo has been verified as a technically viable concept and HSL is now planning to develop a Pilot Park which will be used to demonstrate technological improvements, operation of multiple units, and cost reductions for floating wind farms on a commercial scale. The Hywind Pilot Park is the subject of this EIA.
HSL has been awarded an Agreement for Lease (AfL) by The Crown Estate (TCE) for the deployment of the Pilot Park in an area known as the Buchan Deep which is an area of deep water (95 to 120 m) about 12 nautical miles off the coast near Peterhead. The Pilot Park will be made up of 5 floating turbines capable of generating of up to 30 Mega Watts (MW) of power and will be connected to shore by an export cable to Peterhead.
1.3 Regulatory consent
A number of regulatory consents are required for the construction and operation of the Project. For the offshore components of the Project a Marine Licence under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (for Project components within the 12 nm territorial sea limit i.e. the export cable) and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (for Project components outside 12 nm i.e. the Pilot Park) is required. The offshore application will be submitted to the regulatory authority for the Scottish Government, Marine Scotland. Planning permission for the onshore aspects of the Project will be applied for under the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997. The regulatory authority for the onshore application is Aberdeenshire Council.
An Environmental Statement (ES), produced under the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 (as amended) supports the Marine Licence application. Through screening Aberdeenshire Council has concluded that there is no requirement for an ES under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999. Consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 is not required for this Project as it is located outside the 12 nm (territorial sea) limit and is below the 50 MW threshold that would trigger such an application.
In addition, a Habitats Regulations Appraisal (HRA) has been undertaken to assess potential impacts on conservation sites of European importance and inform the requirement for appropriate assessment. The HRA process is separate to the EIA process; however, the information collated during the EIA has informed the HRA.