Offshore renewable taskforce
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced a government taskforce to help the development of a successful offshore renewables industry in Scotland.
The taskforce will help offshore renewable energy developers progress more quickly through the licensing and consenting system in Scotland.
Scotland's target of the equivalent of 100 per cent of electricity needs coming from renewables by 2020 will mean jobs and investment but it will also require the continued effectiveness of the licensing and consenting process.
Challenges include ensuring developers provide good applications and the regime deals with development applications swiftly. The taskforce will help companies planning offshore wind and marine projects speed this up, while maintaining vital checks and balances on their environmental impact. It will help developers to share best practice, ensure better sharing of data, and help improve communication between developers and key stakeholders.
The taskforce, which will be chaired by Mr Ewing and meets for the first time today, will produce a plan for action to help offshore renewable energy developers get consents for good projects and ramp up the deployment that could create tens of thousands of jobs in Scotland's communities. It will produce an implementation plan in January next year.
Mr Ewing said:
"Scotland has massive clean green energy potential that is delivering jobs and investment across the country. We therefore have an ambitious, but achievable, target for Scotland of meeting the equivalent of all our electricity needs from renewables by 2020.
"We need to ensure that companies who want to invest in our renewable energy industry and build the projects that would deliver the target can do so efficiently and quickly.
"My taskforce aims to help streamline this process and help offshore renewable energy developers produce sympathetic and well-conceived applications.
"This should not be at the expense of the concerns of communities. I want to help companies take local viewpoints and concerns into account and satisfy them, as well as helping them meet the technical requirements of the planning system quickly and thoroughly.
"By working together with industry, communities and environmental consultees, my taskforce will help Scotland to capitalise on its unique natural resources to secure its place as a world leader in renewable energy."
The Short Life Working Group on Energy Planning and Consents will be chaired by Mr Ewing and include representatives from the Renewable Energy industry.