Crown Estate Scotland – the body which manages seabed leasing for offshore renewables – has opened a pioneering offshore wind licensing round which will help reduce emissions from offshore oil and gas infrastructure.
The Innovation and Targeted Oil and Gas (INTOG) leasing process will help meet the emissions reduction targets agreed upon last year between the government and the industry in the North Sea Transition Deal and will help position offshore wind as a primary feature of the energy transition.
Offshore wind developers are being invited to put forward project proposals for the leasing of seabed to reduce North Sea emissions and boost innovation. The areas of the seabed which developers can apply for are set out in the Scottish Government’s Initial Plan Framework.
Developers can apply for the rights to build small-scale innovative offshore wind projects, of less than 100MW, and projects which will provide green electricity to oil and gas infrastructure to reduce their carbon emissions.
Crown Estate Scotland’s final leasing documents have been optimized to support early project development and reflect many of the comments and suggestions from potential applicants, who were asked for feedback earlier this year. These include extending Option Periods from five to seven years and doubling Lease Periods from 25 to 50 years for electrification projects.
Depending on the volume and quality of submissions, it is envisaged that applicants will be notified of the leasing results by the end of March 2023. Exclusivity agreements will then be finalized. Awards will be determined on a mixture of price bid and quality and will be split into two pots – one for smaller-scale innovation projects, and one for projects linked to oil and gas infrastructure.
Developers will be required to submit a Supply Chain Development Statement before they can sign an Option Agreement, outlining the nature and location of any supply chain activity, including details on people and skills linked to their proposed project.
“INTOG represents an exciting opportunity to help decarbonize oil and gas installations and enable innovative projects which are important in lowering costs for the commercial deployment of offshore wind, reducing risk, and developing Scotland as a destination for innovation and technical expertise.
“Platform electrification, which INTOG will help deliver, will reduce North Sea oil and gas emissions while also supporting new skills and jobs. Taken as a whole, INTOG will play a significant role in helping us reach net-zero and meet our energy requirements of the future,” Colin Palmer, Director of Marine for Crown Estate Scotland, stated.
“We need bold action to tackle the climate emergency. Renewable energy, including offshore wind, will deliver good, green jobs, benefits for communities, and strengthened energy security as we transition to becoming a net-zero nation.”
“Oil and gas continue to play an important role in our economy and it is therefore vital that the energy industry decarbonizes as rapidly as possible. The INTOG leasing round presents significant opportunities to cut emissions across these operations while, crucially, enabling the offshore wind sector to expand, innovate, and drive forward Scotland’s ambition to be a renewables powerhouse,” says Michael Matheson, Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy, and Transport.
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