The Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) has responded to a consultation by Scottish Government on the Draft Offshore Wind Policy Statement.
The response advocates a more ambitious energy generation target than is currently proposed in the consultation, citing both environmental and economic incentives for doing so. Additionally, it argues that the level of ambition must properly account for the increased demand for electricity that will arise from the continued decarbonisation of transport and heat. Recognising that current market and regulatory conditions are not yet conducive to large-scale deployment of additional fixed-bottom installations, it is proposed that a significant proportion of this added ambition could likely be realised through pursuing an increase in floating offshore wind installations in the nearer term. Such floating installations benefit from fewer deployment constraints and are also likely to receive bespoke funding as part of proposed reforms to the Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme.
The response also discusses barriers to deployment, including the limitations of the current electricity transmission infrastructure, the potential for adverse interactions with wildlife, and inadequate levels of government intervention to support the continued growth of the industry.
It also explores the economic opportunities that increased offshore wind deployment can yield, including the development of an enduring local operation and maintenance (O&M) supply chain and the potential to commercialise offshore wind energy data.
The response concludes by identifying the conditions necessary to support further innovation and cost reduction, including effective knowledge exchange and different funding models. Such innovation includes stimulating the development of a hydrogen industry in Scotland, building on recent developments in this sector.