Exclusivity agreements to be offered for offshore windfarms

The Crown Estate is to offer exclusivity agreements to companies and consortia for 10 sites for development of offshore windfarms within Scottish territorial waters.

The 10 agreements will be made to nine companies and consortia, and in total the sites have the potential to generate more than 6 GW of offshore wind power.

Four of the proposed wind farms - Beatrice, Bell Rock, Islay and Kintyre - were awarded to consortiums including Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE). They alone could have a combined capacity of up to 2,700 MWs. The proposed Kintyre wind farm would have up to 126 turbines covering about 70 sq km; another off Islay would have 138 turbines covering 93 sq km.

E.ON, ScottishPower, RWE npower and Mainstream Renewable Power were among other companies also awarded rights to start development of the schemes.

The agreements are designed to allow developers to begin initial survey and consultation processes for their sites while the Scottish Government conducts a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for offshore wind within Scottish territorial waters.

Following completion of the SEA, The Crown Estate can go on and award agreements for lease for suitable sites. Leases which enable the developers to actually go ahead with construction works will only be granted by The Crown Estate once the developer has obtained statutory consents and permissions from the Scottish Government.

Option fees will not be payable until award of agreements for lease in 2010. It is intended that the option fees be used to address generic research and development issues faced by offshore wind developers in Scotland.