1. Introduction


1.1. Background

  1. In January 2022, as part of the ScotWind Leasing Round, Ossian Offshore Wind Farm Limited (Ossian OWFL) (the Applicant) (a joint venture between Scottish and Southern Energy Renewables (SSER), Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and Marubeni Corporation (Marubeni), hereafter referred to as 'the Applicant', were awarded an Option to Lease Agreement to develop Ossian, an offshore wind farm project within the E1 Plan Option (PO) Area.
  2. The site boundary is located off the east coast of Scotland, approximately 80 km south-east of Aberdeen from the nearest point (see Figure 1.1   Open ▸ ). The Array is located within the site boundary and comprises the turbines (inclusive of their floating substructures and mooring and anchoring systems), Offshore Substation Platforms (OSPs) (inclusive of their fixed bottom foundations or floating substructures and mooring and anchoring systems if used), and inter-array and interconnector cables. The Array is the subject of this Array Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Report (hereafter referred to as ‘this Scoping Report’).
  3. Ossian includes both the offshore and onshore infrastructure required to generate and transmit electricity from the Array to an onshore grid connection point (location and parameters to be confirmed, see paragraph 13). The parameters and exact location of the Array infrastructure will be confirmed post-Scoping following review of site-specific data and front end engineering design work.
  4. This Scoping Report (and, subsequently, the Array EIA Report to be prepared in due course) considers all the offshore infrastructure within the Array only (as listed in paragraph 11). A separate EIA Scoping Report and associated EIA Report for the Proposed offshore export cable corridor(s) and Proposed onshore export cable corridor(s) (including onshore substation at the Proposed landfall location(s)) will be produced in future once relevant information is available following conclusion of the ongoing Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR) and National Grid Holistic Network Design Follow Up Exercise (HNDFUE) review. Therefore, the Proposed offshore export cable corridor(s) and Proposed onshore cable corridor(s) (including onshore substation at the Proposed landfall location(s)) will not be discussed further within this Scoping Report.
  5. The Applicant will seek the following consents for the Array:
  • a Section 36 consent under the Electricity Act 1989; and
  • a marine licence(s) under the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) 2009 (applicable to Scottish offshore waters between 12 nm and 200 nm).
  1. There is a requirement for EIA Report to be prepared and submitted to support the required applications for offshore consents, licences, and permissions for the Array (see section 1.5 and Appendix 4 for further detail). The Array EIA Report is required to fulfil the requirements of the following regulations:
  • in respect to a Section 36 consent application: The Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations 2017; and
  • in respect to a marine licence(s) application: The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007.
  1. These regulations have collectively been referred to as the EIA Regulations, hereafter.
  2. Stakeholder consultation will be detailed in, and will inform, the Array EIA Report. Section 4.3.4 and the draft Stakeholder Engagement Plan (dSEP) (Appendix 1) presents the proposed approach to Stakeholder Consultation. It is anticipated that the Array EIA Report will be submitted to Scottish Ministers in 2024.
  3. A 50-year consent period is being sought by the Applicant. If the Applicant sought to repower the wind farm in the future, beyond this consent period, then they would be required to submit a separate application to cover any proposed new development.
  4. The Proposed offshore export cable corridor(s) EIA Scoping Report and EIA Report and Proposed onshore export cable corridor(s) EIA Report (including onshore substation) will be submitted as part of a separate application(s) once grid connection locations are known.

Figure 1.1:
Location of the Site Boundary Within Which the Array Will be Located

Figure 1.1: Location of the Site Boundary Within Which the Array Will be Located

1.2. Project Overview

  1. Crown Estate Scotland (CES) launched the first ScotWind Leasing Round in June 2020. The ScotWind Leasing Round allowed developers to apply for the rights to build offshore wind farms in Scottish waters within specified PO areas, with up to 25 GW of new generating capacity expected to be built over the next ten years. The application window for registered applicants opened in January 2021 and closed in July 2021, with Option to Lease Agreements offered in January 2022. The Applicant was awarded an Option to Lease Agreement to develop Ossian within the E1 PO Area in this Leasing Round. As of October 2022, 20 ScotWind projects were awarded Option to Lease Agreements, with a total generating capacity of just under 27.6 GW (Crown Estate Scotland, 2022a). Further information on site selection and alternatives is provided in section 3.
  2. The site boundary is approximately 859 km2 ( Figure 1.1   Open ▸ ). A maximum of 270 wind turbines supported on floating foundations (including and mooring and anchoring systems) will be installed within the Array. Up to six OSPs and associated foundations (fixed-bottom or floating substructures and mooring and anchoring systems) will be installed within the Array. Subsea dynamic/static inter-array cables will connect wind turbines to each other and to the OSPs. Interconnector cables will connect the OSPs to each other, if required. Full details of the project description is provided in section 2.
  3. The process of decommissioning is likely to follow a similar programme to construction, albeit, in reverse. The Applicant has a ten year Option to Lease Agreement with CES and is seeking a 50-year consent period.

1.3. Array EIA Scoping Report

1.3.1. Purpose

  1. This Scoping Report has been prepared to support a request for a formal Scoping Opinion from Scottish Ministers in relation to the Array. Responses from key statutory and non-statutory consultees to this Scoping Report are expected to inform the Scoping Opinion to be produced by the Scottish Ministers, which will assist the progression of the Array EIA Report by the Applicant.
  2. This Scoping Report will provide stakeholders with information on the Array and allow for stakeholders to engage on the key topics to be addressed in the Array EIA Report, as well as the baseline data sources and assessment methodologies proposed to inform the Array EIA Report. A summary of the information requirements as set out in the EIA Regulations (the Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007) and where these can be found in this Scoping Report is provided in Table 1.1   Open ▸ .
  3. Potential environmental impacts are considered within this Scoping Report, including impacts which are proposed to be scoped out of the Array EIA Report due to having no predicted likely significant effects (in EIA terms) or no effect-receptor pathways identified. This Scoping Report seeks to gain agreement with key stakeholders to determine final impacts to be scoped in and scoped out of the Array EIA Report, and to agree assessment methods and approach to be used within the Array EIA Report (see section 4.3.4).
  4. This Scoping Report has been developed using a number of tools and processes, as per the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) (2017) ‘Delivering Proportionate EIA’ guidance, with the aim of producing a proportionate and robust EIA Report. Further details of these can be found in section 4.3.2.
  5. Guidance on the approach to EIA was also provided by the Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) and NatureScot during pre-Scoping workshops held with stakeholders in November 2022. Consultee feedback received to date through pre-application engagement with stakeholders has also been considered in drafting this Scoping Report. The information presented in this Scoping Report aims to inform further stakeholder advice to agree the approach to undertaking a robust and proportionate EIA for the Array.
  6. The Applicant welcomes the opportunity for further engagement with stakeholders and feedback on the Array and the scope (proposed content) of the Array EIA Report as part of the formal Scoping Opinion and throughout the EIA process. In addition, the Applicant welcomes feedback on the dSEP, presented in Appendix 1, which details the scope and process of focused consultation throughout the EIA process.
Table 1.1:
Scoping Requirements of the EIA Regulations and Where the Information is Included in the Array EIA Scoping Report

Table 1.1: Scoping Requirements of the EIA Regulations and Where the Information is Included in the Array EIA Scoping Report


1.3.2. Approach

  1. The approach to scoping that has been taken for the preparation of this Scoping Report is provided within this section. The aims of this scoping process are as follows:
  • to provide a high-level overview of the baseline environment and the data collection and survey methodologies proposed to inform the EIA baseline characterisation for each technical assessment;
  • to propose the impacts to be scoped out of the Array EIA Report including a clear justification for doing so; and
  • to propose the impacts to scope into the Array EIA Report and the existing evidence base to support this, where appropriate.
  1. This approach will allow the development of a proportionate Array EIA Report, through focusing on potential impacts which either have the potential to lead to a likely significant effect, or where significant uncertainty exists on potential effect.
  2. The topic specific sections of this Scoping Report each include:
  • an overview of the study area and baseline characterisation;
  • a list of identified potential impacts to be scoped in and scoped out the Array EIA Report;
  • a list of identified designed in measures;
  • an overview of the proposed approach to the EIA;
  • an overview of potential cumulative effects;
  • a screening assessment of potential transboundary impacts;
  • a list of questions to the stakeholders associated with each technical section; and
  • a summary of suggested topic specific next steps.
  1. Technical baseline characterisations are provided in Appendix 5 to Appendix 12 which provide additional detail to support the information provided in the topic specific sections of this Scoping Report.
  2. Section 4 provides further information on the approach to this Scoping Report.

1.3.3. Structure

  1. Table 1.2   Open ▸ sets out the structure of this Scoping Report. Consideration of human health in this Scoping Report is provided in the airborne noise and air quality sections (section 5.3 and section 5.4).
  2. Water and sediment quality will be assessed via topic specific assessments, where appropriate, due to the strong interlinkages with topic receptors.
  3. A standalone chapter in the Array EIA Report will provide an assessment of the potential effects arising from major accidental scenarios and disaster, as well as the control measures which will be utilised to address these. In addition, a standalone Climate Change chapter is proposed to be included in the Array EIA Report which will assess the potential effects, both positive and negative, arising from the development of the Array, using a qualitative assessment methodology (see section 5.5).


Table 1.2:
Topics Within this Scoping Report

Table 1.2: Topics Within this Scoping Report


1.4. Ossian Project Team

1.4.1. Ossian OWFL

  1. Ossian OWFL is a joint venture between SSER, CIP and Marubeni.
  2. SSER is a leading developer, owner and operator of renewable energy across the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, with a portfolio of around 4 GW of onshore wind, offshore wind, and hydro. SSER owns nearly 2 GW of operational onshore wind capacity with over 1 GW under development.
  3. Its operational offshore wind portfolio consists of 487 MW across two offshore joint venture sites (Beatrice and Greater Gabbard), both of which it operates on behalf of its joint venture partners. SSER has the largest offshore wind development pipeline in the UK and Ireland at over 8 GW.
  4. SSER is currently constructing the world’s largest offshore wind energy project, the 3.6 GW Dogger Bank Wind Farm in the North Sea, as well as Scotland’s largest and the world's deepest fixed bottom offshore site, the 1.1 GW Seagreen Offshore Wind Farm in the Firth of Forth. SSER is also at the planning stage of the Berwick Bank Wind Farm, which will be one of the world’s largest wind farm developments once built, generating up to 4.1 GW of power, with the planning application submitted to the Scottish Government in December 2022.
  5. CIP is the world’s largest fund manager dedicated to the renewable energy sector. To date, it has raised approximately £17 bn for investments in green energy and associated infrastructure.  In the last decade, it has invested more than £1.5 bn in large-scale renewable energy projects in the UK, with future planned investments across the UK potentially requiring an additional £5bn - £10 bn.  These include onshore wind and associated grid infrastructure in Wales, and large-scale battery energy storage projects at various locations in Scotland and England.  CIP expects to be a lead investor and provider of capital for these projects, demonstrating its strong interest for further investment in the UK.
  6. CIP also has considerable interests in floating offshore wind opportunities globally.  In addition to Ossian, CIP has expressed interest in the current Crown Estate leasing opportunity for 4 GW of Floating Offshore Wind (FLOW) in the Celtic Sea.  CIP was also recently announced (through its fund Copenhagen Infrastructure IV and its affiliate California North Floating, Limited Liability Company (LLC)) as the provisional winner of a lease area in the auction held by the United States (US) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).  The auction was the first-ever offshore wind lease sale on the US West Coast and the first-ever US sale to support potential commercial-scale floating offshore wind energy development.  CIP also has interests in the Scipio and Hannibal projects, (respectively, 500 MW and 250 MW floating wind developments off the coasts of Sicily and Sardinia, Italy).
  7. Through its exclusive development partner Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP), it is also currently developing the 100 MW Pentland FLOW project off the Caithness coast, Scotland.  To aid the delivery of these projects and furtherment of its growing interest in FLOW, COP will officially open its Floating Offshore Wind Competence Centre in Edinburgh in Spring 2023.
  8. Marubeni is a Japanese conglomerate which is involved in third country trading and domestic business across a range of sectors (Marubeni, 2022a). Included within Marubeni’s extensive portfolio is their involvement in developing and operating over 2 GW of onshore and offshore wind farms to date. Marubeni’s core competencies with regard to the offshore wind business include Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), construction management, operation and maintenance, project financing and coordination with stakeholders (Marubeni Offshore Wind Development, 2023).
  9. Marubeni has been instrumental in the delivery of Japan’s first large-scale bottom fixed offshore wind farms at Akita Port and Noshiro Port in Akita Prefecture as part of the Akita Offshore Wind Corporation. As part of this project, Marubeni was responsible for development, construction, operation and maintenance, and financing of the project, with a total of 33 wind turbine units constructed and total output of 140 MW (Marubeni, 2022b). The Noshiro Port Offshore Wind Farm and the Akita Port Offshore Wind Farm started commercial operation in December 2022 and January 2023, respectively (Akita Offshore Wind Corporation, 2022).
  10. Marubeni has also been involved in two Japanese government sponsored floating offshore wind demonstration projects off the coast of Fukushima and Kitakyushu, respectively (Marubeni, 2022b). The Fukushima Floating Offshore Wind Farm was operational between 2013 and 2020, consisting of three floating turbines with total capacity of 14 MW and one floating substation installed 20 km off the coast of Naraha-town (Fukushima prefecture) at a water depth of approximately 100 m. The Kitakyushu Floating Offshore Wind Farm began operating in 2019, consisting of one floating turbine installed 15 km off the coast of Kitayushu-city (Fukuoka prefecture) at approximately 50 m water depth. Marubeni managed the project consortiums for these projects, as well as taking a lead role in consenting and permitting, economics analysis, operation and maintenance, and coordination with fisheries (Marubeni Offshore Wind Development, 2023).

1.4.2. The Project EIA Team

  1. RPS has been instructed by the Applicant to lead the Offshore EIA for the Array. This includes the initial review of the key environmental issues associated with the construction, operation and maintenance, and decommissioning of Ossian that have formed the basis of this Scoping Report, and the subsequent Array EIA Report.

1.5. Policy and Legislation

  1. An overview of the relevant policy and legislation to the Array is presented below. Further details can be found in Appendix 4.

1.5.1. Need for the Development

                        International commitments

  1. The Kyoto Protocol came into effect in 2005, which sets internationally binding emission reduction targets and commits state parties to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The UK is a signatory of this Protocol, with its commitments transposed into UK law by the Climate Change Act 2008. This initially required the net UK greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2050 to be 80% lower than the 1990 baseline, however, this was subsequently revised by The Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019 to a “net zero target” of greenhouse gas emissions for the year 2050 to be 100% lower than the 1990 levels. In Scotland, the net zero target must be delivered by 2045 (the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009).
  2. The Paris climate conference (COP21), held in December 2015, established the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal which was adopted by 195 countries. The Paris Agreement (2016), arising out of COP21, sets out a global action plan towards climate neutrality with the aims of limiting the increase in global average temperature to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

                        UK and Scotland climate change and energy legislation

  1. In addition to the Acts noted in paragraph 49, the UK and Scotland are committed to various other targets within legislation including the following:
  • 2030 Targets including European Union Renewables Energy Directive;
  • 2050 Low Carbon Economy;
  • The Energy Act 2013;
  • British Energy Security Strategy 2022 (HM Government, 2022a);
  • UK Energy Security Bill (under review by the House of Lords at time of writing) (UK Parliament, 2023); and
  • The Scottish Energy Strategy 2017 (Scottish Government, 2017).

1.5.2. Planning Legislation

  1. The following consents, licences and permissions are required for the Array:
  • a Section 36 consent under the Electricity Act 1989; and
  • a marine licence(s) for generation assets under the MCAA 2009.
  1. If additional pre-construction licences are required, discussion and agreement with the relevant consenting authority will be undertaken during the pre-construction phase of the Array.

                        Section 36 consent

  1. As the Array is an offshore generating station with a capacity of greater than 50 MW located in Scottish offshore waters (between 12 nm and up to 200 nm offshore) within the Scottish Renewable Energy Zone (REZ), there is a requirement for consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989. Section 36 consent allows for the construction and operation of the wind turbines, inter-array cables and interconnectors forming part of the Array.