Scotland’s first leasing round for offshore wind projects will not now take place until July 2019, Crown Estate Scotland has confirmed.
In November 2018, Crown Estate Scotland published an update on leasing design and potential timescales in which it indicated that the earliest timeline was for it to be launched in April 2019.
However, in a statement issued on 29 January 2019, Crown Estate Scotland said the final timings for leasing will be linked to Marine Scotland’s preparation of a Sectoral Marine Plan (SMP) and had decided it will not launch leasing prior to July 2019, even if information on the draft SMP has been published before then.
On the assumptions that the first leasing round is launched in July 2019, it will allow six months for preparing applications. Assuming that the adopted SMP is available around nine months after that, the deadline for applications to Crown Estate Scotland would be January 2020. Crown Estate Scotland would then offer option agreements to successful applicants in April 2020, when clearing would also start. It would aim to offer option agreements through clearing in September 2020, and the earliest commencement of a second cycle of leasing would be July 2021.
“This is the earliest timeline for our leasing, with the actual timeline possibly being later,” Crown Estate Scotland said, noting it will give a further update on our intended timings in April 2019, and as appropriate thereafter.
In the April 2019 update it will set out further information which may be helpful to those considering applying to ScotWind leasing, indicating the type and level of information it might expect in applications, and setting out further detail in any other areas where it can add clarity in advance of launching the leasing.
As highlighted here, the leasing process is similar to that run for offshore wind projects to-date by Crown Estate England but the Scottish programme differs in a number of respects that might affect how it plays out as Round 4 projects in English waters also get under way.
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